Thursday, January 31, 2013

More Django Dolls


More Django Dolls

If you really want to see the Django slavery dolls, (see story below) you can see them at this link:

Django unboxed: Doll tie-ins from Tarantino movie Django Unchained pulled from sale - Features - Films - The Independent

Ebay Pulls Django Dolls


EBay pulls Django Dolls

Django unboxed: Doll tie-ins from Tarantino movie
Django Unchained pulled from sale

If there was ever a set of toys worthy of the tag "not suitable
for children" then it would have to be the official merchandise
produced in conjunction with Quentin Tarantino's much-lauded
spaghetti Western-meets-blaxploitation epic Django Unchained.
The dolls depict the film's main characters: revenge-seeking
freed slave Django (Jamie Foxx), bounty hunter Dr King Schultz
(Christoph Waltz) and brutal slave owner Calvin Candie
(Leonardo DiCaprio), none of whom would be particularly
comforting to snuggle up in bed with.

Following criticism from civil-rights groups, production of the
dolls was swiftly brought to a standstill by film producers the
Weinstein Company, but they could still be found being sold at
massively inflated prices on eBay – some going for thousands
of dollars. Last week, however, eBay also made the decision
block sales of the dolls, stating they were "in violation of eBay's
offensive-materials policy".


But despite the dolls being withdrawn, the film which inspired
them continues to show in cinemas. For Andrea Plaid, associate
editor of Racialicious, a US blog that looks at the relationship
between race and popular culture, this is because toys quite
literally "play with slavery".


"It's one thing for an adult to spend money to see a racially
insensitive film. The assumption is an adult has the capacity to
understand it is historical fiction.

"But a toy is viewed as something to give a child who is
developing their understanding of the world. I suspect the toys,
and their associations with children, became a controversy that
the film studio just really didn't want to get into."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Television’s changing idea of marriage

Commentary

by Alyssa Rosenberg
Thumbnail
ABC - Eliza Coupe and Damon Wayans Jr. play married couple Jane and Brad in the ABC comedy “Happy Endings.”

WASHINGTON – In a recent discussion of sitcoms in the New York Review of Books, inspired by both “The Mindy Project” and two new volumes on TV history, Elaine Blair writes that:

“Mindy might love watching ‘When Harry Met Sally,’ but she is a character in a television sitcom, not a Hollywood romantic comedy, so we can be pretty sure that her own romantic life is going to be different from Sally Albright’s: Mindy is going to be unlucky in love. Not just in the pilot episode or during the first season, but probably for years, or as long as the show is renewed.”

But Blair is wrong: This is actually a terrific moment for televised marriage. While the travails of single girls remain a subject of television comedy, no longer is tormenting spinsters for viewers’ amusement the dominant trope. In fact, exploring what happens after the white dress and the honeymoon is increasingly one of network television’s advantages over cable, which has made full use of its license to deploy sex and violence, but spends less time on the triumphs and tragedies of everyday life.

On the comedy front, ABC’s increasingly brilliant “Happy Endings” is anchored by the performances of Eliza Coupe and Damon Wayans Jr., as Jane and Brad, whose sexually adventurous connection is never seriously in doubt. (They’re also one of the few interracial couples on television.) Then, in “Raising Hope,” Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt play Virginia and Burt Chance, a working-class couple who married after Virginia got pregnant in high school. On “Parks and Recreation,” Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope has never been particularly unlucky in love – she was wooed by Louis C.K., whose genial cop character departed for a job elsewhere, and then fell quickly and happily for Ben (Adam Scott), a state auditor, who proposed to her this season in one of the most heartfelt moments of fall television.

In drama, the so-called “Moonlighting Curse” – the idea that shows become less creatively successful when will-they-or-won’t-they couples finally pair up – has definitively been broken. Fox crime drama “Bones,” the most obvious heir to that tradition, finally paired up its emotional FBI agent and its hyper-rational forensic anthropologist, gave them a child together, and their discussions of parenting and living arrangements have become one of the most fully realized parts of the show. NBC’s “Parenthood” features three mostly happy married couples whose households are beset by the stuff of everyday life: in-laws who come to stay, businesses that run into trouble, breast cancer, a spoiled daughter. CBS’s “The Good Wife” is a legal procedural, but it’s also a long-running inquiry into what makes a decent marriage.

So what does, according to these shows? For one thing, the couple needs a strong social network: groups of friends, colleagues and extended families. Also, professional interests or other passions. (Still, it’s network TV: On “Happy Endings,” Brad concocts elaborate schemes to hide the fact that he’s returned to work when Jane wanted him to take time off in between jobs to reevaluate his goals, and Jane ultimately reveals that she’s been faking her birthday for years because her real one is on Christmas.)

“In life, the ‘ending’ that is marriage actually comes at the beginning of adulthood,” Blair writes, rather than at the end of a sitcom run. But what she doesn’t realize is that TV has caught on to that, and is changing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Multiracial Data Representation


Multiracial Data Representation 

Below is the student population pie chart from the California Department of Education. It is the closest illustration to what we need! The only difference is we would have preferred to see "Multiracial" instead of "Two or More Races." Also, if multiracial people are in the combined format used by the US Census Bureau, we do not have an important aggregate number of multiracial people. I wish some of the government folks and "advocates" could understand this concept. -Susan 

Pie chart of 2010-11 student racial/ethnic makeup. Hispanic 51.43%, White 26.63%, Asian 8.52%, African American 6.69%,  Filipino 2.56%, Two or More Races 1.81%, None Reported 1.08%, American Indian or Alaska Native 0.70%, and Pacific Islander 0.58%.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

PR Kids President: "MLK would be proud!"




I worked with my friends Tommy and Jordan cleaning up this beach.

This past weekend I helped out in the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service. Our service project was to help people along the Jersey Shore who are still really in bad shape after Super Storm Sandy. My parents were in charge of this whole project. We had 329 people there to help.

We saw so many destroyed houses including this one in Mantoloking.

The police chief had ordered that kids under 18 were not allowed to work inside houses because it was very dangerous. Many houses were about to fall down. Others that looked okay outside were full of dangerous mold inside. My friends Tommy, Jordan, Matthew and I worked together. 

As Matthew’s dad drove us down the Barrier Island on the way to the area we were assigned to clean, we saw things much worse than I ever saw on the news. I really thought that 3 months after Sandy things would be better.

We saw a bunch of big arcade games on the street. They used to be on a boardwalk that was completely washed away by the storm.  We saw houses on their side and others completely cracked like an eggshell. As we cleaned up the beach, we dug up roof shackles and cinder blocks that were covered with sand, but we have no idea how far away the water brought them from. 

I felt proud of the work we did because I was helping people. I think Martin Luther King, Jr. was proud of us too. I also think he would be really proud of what we are doing for equality at Project RACE. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great person. He did a lot of good for people of different races while he was alive. And even now after he was killed, people are still doing great things in honor of what he stood for. He knew people could make a difference and so do we. That’s why we have Project RACE. We believe we can make a difference for multiracial people. Even kids!

- Karson

Medical Facts

Medical Facts

The health of first-degree relatives --your parents, siblings, and children--is always most key to your medical history, since you share 50 percent of your genes with them.

Grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren are second-degree relatives; you have 25 percent of your genes in common, so their wellness may be relevant to yours, but to a lesser degree.

First cousins are third-degree relatives and you share just 12.5 percent of genes, so the association is even weaker.
Source: HEALTH.COM

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New Project RACE Advisory Member!

We are honored and thrilled to announce a new Project RACE Advisory Board Member. Barbara Showalter, MD earned her medical degree at UC San Francisco, and did her family practice residency in Merced, California, where she continues to work as a family doctor. 

She has worked with people from many cultural backgrounds, and enjoys learning languages and interpreting medical jargon into English. She has volunteered in community groups that have worked with medical issues, with building strong communities (working to decrease violence and bullying), and with youth activities.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Showalter to our Project RACE family.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

First Multiracial President Sworn in for Second Term


***Congratulations to President Barack Obama, our first   
         Multiracial president, on his second term in office.*** 


Sunday’s subdued ceremonies are a function of the calendar and the Constitution, which says presidents automatically begin their new terms at noon on Jan. 20. Because that date fell this year on a Sunday — a day on which inaugural ceremonies historically are not held — organizers scheduled a second, public swearing-in for Monday.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Law Bans Genetic Discrimination



Thursday, January 17, 2013

DNA Testing Ordered




Race May Be Considered To Determine Paternity


A child’s racial appearance can be considered to establish paternity
declared a Rochester Family Court judge. In doing so, the Court
ordered a DNA test to establish the paternity of two children who
appeared to be bi-racial, born to a married Caucasian couple; the
petitioner seeking to establish paternity was an African-American
man.

While there is a strong presumption that a child, born to a wed couple is the natural child of the couple, the presumption is rebuttable.

Apparently, the child’s racial appearance may be a factor to rebut the presumption. In reaching its decision, the court noted that while there is ample case law for providing that “appearance” cannot be considered in determining paternity, there is no case law preventing a court from considering the child’s race.

While the white husband was identified on both children’s birth
certificates as the father, the petitioner had regular visitation with the children and paid child support to the couple. The petitioner sought to establish paternity after he realized that absent an order declaring him the children’s parent, the married couple could unilaterally cut off all access to the children.

The children apparently had a complexion noticeably darker than the couple identified as their birth parents and their sibling, who was natural child of the married parents.

In ordering the paternity test which the court noted definitively
establishes paternity, the court stated: the adults' history of behavior all points to a likelihood that [the petitioner] is the biological father of the subject children, and the children's behavior indicates they understand that he is their biological father to the extent children are able to do so. . . . If [petitioner] were not in the picture, the girls would still have to recognize—at some point—that either Mr. G. or
Mrs. G. is not their biological parent. The court has no magic
wand to change these realities.

Given the unique set of facts where the African–American petitioner, seeking to establish paternity, had an existing relationship with the biracial children, had an established access schedule, and was paying child support to the “legal” Caucasian parents, the children’s racial appearance probably was not the determinative factor in the Court’s decision.
Source: Posted by Daniel Clement on January 17, 2013 New York Divorce Report
Copyright © 2013, Daniel E. Clement. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Study on Demographic Groups and Smoking



Graphic Warnings On Cigarettes Effective Across Demographic Groups

Jan. 14, 2013 — Quitting smoking is a common New Year's resolution for Americans each year, but research has repeatedly shown it is not an easy task. Some groups, such as racial/ethnic minorities, have an even harder time quitting. New research suggests hard-hitting graphic tobacco warnings may help smokers of diverse backgrounds who are struggling to quit. A new study by researchers at Legacy® and Harvard School of Public Health provides further evidence that bold pictorial cigarette warning labels that visually depict the health consequences of smoking -- such as those required under the 2009 Family Smoking and Prevention Tobacco Control Act -- play a life-saving role in highlighting the dangers of smoking and encouraging smokers to quit.

The study is one of the first to examine the effectiveness of pictorial warning labels versus text-only labels across diverse racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Although a growing body of research has shown that disadvantaged groups may differ in their ability to access, process and act on health information, little is known about communication inequalities when it comes to cigarette warning labels.

The study authors note that text-only cigarette warnings have been repeatedly characterized as unlikely to be noticed or have an impact, and cite prior research indicating pictorial warning labels are more effective.

"Interventions that have a positive impact on reducing smoking among the general population have often proven ineffective in reaching disadvantaged groups, worsening tobacco-related health disparities," said Jennifer Cantrell, DrPH, MPA, and Assistant Director for Research and Evaluation at Legacy®, a national public health foundation devoted to reducing tobacco use in the U.S. "It's critical to examine the impact of tobacco policies such as warning labels across demographic groups."

Senior author Vish Viswanath, associate professor of society, human development, and health at Harvard School of Public Health, said, "There is a nagging question whether benefits from social policies accrue equally across ethnic and racial minority and social class groups. The evidence from this paper shows that this new policy of mandated Graphic Health Warnings would benefit all groups. Given the disproportionate burden of tobacco-related disease faced by the poor and minorities, mandating strong pictorial warnings is an effective and efficient way to communicate the risk of tobacco use."

The new study, published January 14, 2013, in the journal PLOS ONE, examined reactions to cigarette warning labels from more than 3,300 smokers. Results show that hard-hitting, pictorial graphic warnings are more effective than text-only versions, with smokers indicating the labels are more impactful, credible, and have a greater effect on their intentions to quit. Moreover, the study found that the stronger impact of pictorial warnings was similar across vulnerable subpopulations, with consistent reactions across race/ethnicity, education, and income.

"The implementation of graphic warning labels appears to be one of the few tobacco control policies that have the potential to reduce communication inequalities across groups," Cantrell said.
"Tobacco use is a social justice issue," added Donna Vallone, PhD, Senior Vice President for Research and Evaluation at Legacy®. "Given that low income and minority communities have higher smoking rates and suffer disproportionately from tobacco's health consequences, studies like this show us that graphic warning labels can help us reach these subgroups in a more effective way, ultimately saving more lives."
Source: ScienceDaily and Harvard School of Public Health, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

BIRACIAL WOMEN GET GENETIC SCREENING!



Biracial women pushed to undergo genetic screeening: Cobble Hill hospital focuses on mixed race 

As interracial families become more common, LICH docs quiz women on ethnicity

Louise Dogan and Michael Greenbaum

As interracial families have beome more common, Dr. Millicent Comrie, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Downstate Long Island College Hospital, has urged her staff of about 40 physicians to quiz patients about their ethnic backgrounds.

Those from multicultural backgrounds are are sent to talk with a DNA expert who maps out how their heritage could make them sick.

“Ethnicity plays a big part in your healthcare,” said Comrie naming a slew of hereditary diseases such as sickle cell anemia which plagues the black community and Tay-Sachs disease found in many Jewish families.

“We can’t worry about sensitivity when it comes to race. What you see isn’t always what you get,” Comrie said. “If we don’t ask the right questions. We will come up short.”

Census stats show that 2 % of Kings County identified as being “two or more races” in 2010 with the largest concentrations in upper-middle class enclaves like Park Slope and Prospect Heights.
Popular combinations include having at least one parent who is either European Jewish, black, or Chinese - meaning the person could inherit a long list of illnesses.

Comrie and her staff map out patients’ family health histories as well as study their blood trolling for more risk factors.

Louise Dogan, 41, - born to a eastern European Jewish mom and an African dad - worked with doctors tracing her Jewish relatives’ aliments after her mother, aunt, and cousin were diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancers.

Physicians found their sicknesses were tied to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, often linked to breast and ovarian cancer in Jewish women. But Dogan’s test for BRCA was negative.
“I am a hybrid. I am different from the rest of my family,” said Dogan who is eight-months pregnant.

Dogan’s mother-in-law is a Polish gentile who also had breast cancer. Her father-in-law is a Polish Jew.

“We have to find out if she had that [BRCA] gene and the implications on the child,” Dogan said. “You need to know your background. You can’t have biases based on what you look like.”
Interracial couples and their ethnically ambiguous offspring are common sights throughout the borough.

European Jews are prone to about two dozen afflictions including cystic fibrosis - which can lead to fatal lung and intestinal diseases and is also common in white non-Jews.

Sickle cell, Thalassemia, and other blood disorders impact those with African and Asian roots.

“In the future, we are going to have so many people with so many different ethnicities,” said LICH’s genetic guru Regine Lim who is half Chinese and white.

“When you are more than one race, you have more of a diverse genetic composition...we are talking to people before they have a baby...the more time we have the better.”

Monday, January 14, 2013

Race and Allergies



Connecting Race and Allergies

Analyzing race and ethnicity's role in allergies across the U.S.

You may be asking yourself “Why me?” as your allergies start acting up this spring. It might surprise you to know your race and ethnicity is part of the answer.

The chance of having an allergy varies dramatically based on race and ethnicity. Practice Fusion’s Research Division found that Caucasians, who have the highest rate of allergies in our data, are about 3 times more likely to have allergies than Asians, who have the lowest rate. We also found that African-Americans are about 80% more likely to have a peanut allergy than Caucasians.
Likelihood of allergy by race
Previous studies have also found a link between race and certain allergies. A recent analysis by researchers at Northwestern Medical School, for example, found a higher likelihood of sensitivity to certain foods in African-American children than in Caucasian children in a study of about 1,000 participants. We explored the relationship between race and ethnicity and common allergies in a sample of over 1.3 million medical records.

The fascinating thing about allergies is that what’s harmless for one person can be the trigger for a life-threatening allergic reaction in another. We looked at a wide range of triggers: medication, animal dander, seafood, dairy, shell fish, insect stings, soy, pollen, eggs, mold, dust and nuts. In general, the more common allergies after medications were for dairy, shell fish, pollen, dust and contact with animal dander. More unusual allergies were for nickel and baker’s yeast.

The data shows that non-Hispanics were about 66% more likely to have allergies than Hispanics. Caucasians were also much more likely to have an allergy than African-Americans or Asians.
Things get a little more mixed up, however, if you look at particular allergies. African-Americans are more allergic to peanuts than Caucasians. Caucasians are more allergic to animal dander and medication than non-Caucasians. Native Americans join them with their high chance of medication allergies.

The reason for all this variation remains unclear. Allergies are largely hereditary, but this doesn’t explain the increases in the incidence of allergies over the past 20 years. Doctors now wonder if factors related to our environment and diet actually play a larger role than previously thought. The data too could have some bias if differential reporting of allergies occurs by race.

Nevertheless, patients and doctors should be aware that these associations exist, especially for potentially serious allergies like allergies to peanuts. And hopefully more data will help us learn the underlying causes of allergies.
Source: Practice Fusion and Jake Marcus. Thanks to Barbara Showlater, M.D. and Catherine Lewis, Board Member, for letting us know about this. 

For the Academics

For all the academics who read our blog:

IRS: Adjunct Faculty Hours Must Be Calculated With 'Reasonable' Method 

The Internal Revenue Service put colleges and universities on warning with new proposed rules issued this month, warning them not to skimp when counting the hours adjunct faculty work. The guidelines from the IRS could be critical to ensuring whether part-time college instructors receive health care benefits as new Affordable Care Act laws take effect.

The IRS noted in the Federal Register that "educational organizations generally do not track the full hours of service of adjunct faculty, but instead compensate adjunct faculty on the basis of credit hours taught." In short, most colleges are only paying part-time instructors for time spent in a classroom, and nothing for time spent grading or preparing.

The Treasury Department and the IRS are considering and "invite further comment on how best to determine the full-time status of employees" like educators, who may work many hours after students leave the classroom.

Starting in January 2014, any employee working 30 hours or more per week will be considered a full-time faculty member andwill be entitled to health insurance through an employer under new federal rules, with an exception for certain small businesses. So far, several schools have cut adjuncts' hours to avoid the requirement and save cash. Matt Williams, vice president of New Faculty Majority, a group that advocates for collective bargaining rights of adjunct instructors and professors, told The Huffington Post in November he expects this type of action to happen more often.

Colleges say they need further guidance from the federal government, and without adequate state appropriations, they can't afford to provide insurance.

According to an analysis by the Chronicle of Higher Education, the average pay "reported by adjuncts is $2,987 per three-credit course. Adjuncts at 16 colleges reported earning less than $1,000. The highest pay reported is $12,575, recorded in the anthropology department at Harvard University." For an adjunct instructor teaching two three-credit classes each year, that translates to an average annual income of $11,948.
Source: The Huffington Post  |  By 

Sunday, January 13, 2013


"It's easier to be a good writer than it is to be a great writer and a great advocate."
                                                  Susan Graham
                                                  Founder and Executive Director
                                                  Project RACE 

Civil Rights Advocate Dies


Eugene Patterson, voice on civil rights, dies at 89

  • Obit Eugene Patterson_Cala.jpg


    Eugene Patterson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and columnist whose impassioned words helped draw national attention to the civil rights movement as it unfolded across the South, has died at 89.

    Patterson, who helped fellow whites to understand the problems of racial discrimination, died Saturday evening in Florida after complications from prostate cancer, according to B.J. Phillips, a family spokeswoman
    .
    Patterson was editor of the Atlanta Constitution from 1960 to 1968, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1967 for editorial writing. His famous column of Sept, 16, 1963, about the Birmingham, Ala., church bombing that killed four girls -- "A Flower for the Graves" -- was considered so moving that he was asked by Walter Cronkite to read it nationally on the "CBS Evening News."

    "A Negro mother wept in the street Sunday morning in front of a Baptist Church in Birmingham," Patterson began his column. "In her hand she held a shoe, one shoe, from the foot of her dead child. We hold that shoe with her.


    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/01/13/eugene-patterson-voice-on-civil-rights-dies-at-8/#ixzz2HtGMphZl


Source: AP and (AP Photo/The Tampa Bay Times, Cherie Diez) TAMPA OUT; CITRUS COUNTY OUT; PORT CHARLOTTE OUT; BROOKSVILLE HERNANDO TODAY OUT (Tampa Bay Times2012)




Saturday, January 12, 2013

Supporting Multiracial Children


Supporting multiracial children

Actor Lee Gwang-soo, center, poses with children from multiracial families before making “bibimbap,” or rice mixed with meat, vegetables and condiments like red pepper paste, using foodstuff donated by CJ Foodville, at the Korea Support Center for Foreign Workers in Guro, southwestern Seoul, Friday. CJ is trying to globalize bibimbap by launching its restaurant chain, Bibigo, internationally. / Yonhap
Source: The Korea Times

Thursday, January 10, 2013

So...so...Soledad!


So…so…Soledad!

Soledad O’Brien is up to her old one-drop rule rhetoric once again. She was interviewed for an Internet publication called Clutch. If you really want to read it, the link to the full story is:
http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2012/12/catching-up-with-black-in-americas-soledad-obrien/

My problems with the article begin with a personal story of the writer, Zettler Clay—a black male—who tells us how he took his cousins, ages four, six, and eight, to Toy’s “R” Us after promising them they could get what they wanted. They came upon two dolls, a white one and what the writer calls a “melanated” doll, which is apparently darker than white.

Mr. Clay “strongly suggested” the darker doll, but the kid said no dice, she wanted the white one. The writer gave in, but then suffered some deep trauma for having allowed what he calls “the notion of colorism—the lighter the skin, the better the “doll.” So he turned to Soledad O’Brien, the queen of dark is better than light. You can read “Shame on CNN” on this blog at http://projectrace.blogspot.com/2012/12/shame-on-cnn.html

Soledad says, “It’s [sic] nothing wrong with seeing color, It becomes a problem when people limit and define you by it.” Oh, but it’s OK as long as you are defined as black. Ms. O’Brien, is multiracial, and self-identifies differently depending on the situation said recently that her mother told her not to let anyone tell her she’s not Black. For this interview she changed it a bit and said her mother told her not to let anyone tell her she’s not Black or Latino.

The writer goes on for a while about his feelings about “colorism,” and then Ms. O’Brien says the following:

“I think White in America would be fascinating,” she said. “Many cultures come to this country Italian, Irish, they’re not considered white. Jews, there [sic] not considered white. There’s this whole process of assimilation that Black people have not done, and for obvious reasons. So I think White in America would be a really interesting question.”

Huh? I think she is confused about race, ethnicity, culture, nationality and religion. CNN has already unleashed her on multiracials, which makes me really skeptical of what she would say about whites.

Then Mr. Clay asks Ms. O’Brien what she was hoping to accomplish with her last “Black in America” show and this was her response:

“We decided to be very honest and shed a strong light on some of the issues that were important and relevant. With a news documentary you can do that. This isn’t about spinning or PR. It’s about embracing tough situations, sometimes telling hopeful stories, sometimes telling sad stories. But really ultimately trying to do a very honest job in the stories that we are telling.” A VERY HONEST job? Oh please. They very honestly took a young woman who was proud to be biracial and turned her into identifying as black. Some really bad things come to mind about what they did, but VERY HONEST isn’t one of them.

It goes on and on. I really could not care less about how Soledad feels about race; however, but she is a public figure and influences young people by virtue of her being on TV. In other words, she has been given a platform to report honestly and with journalistic integrity. Instead, she is using that platform to invoke her personal racial identification. Very honestly, we don’t need someone splashed all over our televisions talking about how multiracial people should identify only as black—or is that “solely” as black? 
Source: Clutch/Susan Graham

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hurray for the NRA?


Hurray For the NRA?

After the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre, the debate about guns/gun control/firearm reduction began and well it should have. Tomorrow, January 10, Vice President Joe Biden will meet with “stakeholders,” according to President Obama’s announcement on December 19 to convene such a meeting. It was reported by Reuters on December 28 that the NRA had not been invited to the meeting, according to NRA President David Keene.

Law enforcement, cabinet members, mayors of various cities, gun safety groups, and a host of other stakeholders were invited. Then the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre said that armed guards are needed in every school. That doesn’t even deserve a comment. But suddenly, the NRA got invited to the meeting—also called “invited to the table”—and yes, they are going to be there.

I never thought I would be on the same side of anything concerning the NRA, but I’m with them on this one. I am with them because I know what it’s like to be left out of important talks in Washington—Project RACE has been left out for the past 12 years of our 23 year existence. We were the favorite advocates for the multiracial community throughout the 1990s, not because we were the only ones talking, but we had friends in high places listening and we insisted that our allies and some of those naysayers were included. We were coming to dinner and bringing other stakeholders with us. As a result, we were responsible for the decision by the Office of Management and Budget and the US Census Bureau to allow multiracial people to at the very least check more than one box on the census forms and with all other government agencies.

Why the multiracial advocacy lost its place at the table is a long, amazing, involved story—and one for another time, I promise—but once you are uninvited at the table, you are apparently disenfranchised completely by the White House. We have made many attempts to get at least one reliable, responsible, knowledgeable person from the multiracial community represented at meetings in Washington, and although we have not been successful, we do persevere on an almost daily basis, and will continue to do so.

So my hat’s off to the NRA, not because I agree with them, but because they did, indeed, get invited to the table.  





Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Racial Disparities in Strokes


 

New Study Better Explains Racial Disparities in Strokes

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Public Health say a 10-millimeter difference in blood pressure is associated with an 8 percent increase in stroke risk for white people, but a 24 percent increase in stroke risk for black people.

UAB School of Public Health Department of Biostatistics professor George Howard, Dr.P.H, said these new findings, recently published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine, mean primary care physicians should work closely with their black patients and urge them to take blood pressure medicine, as well as follow up with them to ensure those medications are effective in bringing blood pressure under control.

"It's long been hypothesized that hypertension is one of the major drivers in the racial disparities with stroke," Howard said. "Blacks between the ages of 45-65 are about three times more likely to have a stroke than their white counterparts. The reasons for that were not understood, but this difference is bigger than can be explained simply by the fact that more blacks have high blood pressure. There must be something else going on."

The discovery was part of the long-running REGARDS (Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke) study, led by Howard. Stroke risk was assessed in 30,329 black and white people ages 45 and older enrolled in REGARDS between 2003 and 2007 -- 27,748 were included in this most recent analysis and followed up with through 2011.

Howard says that when these racial differences in the impact of blood pressure levels are coupled with previous REGARDS findings that showed a higher prevalence of hypertension and poorer control of hypertension in blacks, it contributes important information to explaining the racial disparity in stroke risk.

Howard noted that at blood pressures above 140, black REGARDS participants had a 400 percent higher chance of having a stroke, compared with white participants. At pressures of 120 or below, white participants had a higher stroke risk.

According to Howard, the public health burden of the racial disparities in stroke is costly. Having a stroke is expensive -- to the tune of $140,000 -- and the extra strokes in blacks cost $3 billion per year.

"These racial disparities, along with geographic disparities, have been in existence and clearly documented for nearly 60 years," Howard said. "We hope the findings from this study will be used to develop new interventions to reduce these disparities."

In the stroke belt states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee -- the risk of dying from stroke is higher than in other parts of the country. In Alabama, the stroke death rate is 105.5 per every 100,000 people, compared with a national average of 78.6 per 100,000.

For blacks in the stroke belt, the death rate is 146.4 per 100,000, compared to the national average for all blacks of 116.4 per 100,000. For whites in the stroke belt, the rate is 96.4 per 100,000, compared to the national average for all whites of 77.1 per 100,000.
Source: Science Daily

Monday, January 7, 2013

Biracial History 2010

‘One-drop rule’ persists

Biracials viewed as members of their lower-status parent group

The centuries-old “one-drop rule” assigning minority status to mixed-race individuals appears to live on in our modern-day perception and categorization of people like Barack Obama, Tiger Woods, and Halle Berry.

So say Harvard University psychologists, who’ve found that we still tend to see biracials not as equal members of both parent groups, but as belonging more to their minority parent group.

The research appears in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. “Many commentators have argued that the election of Barack Obama, and the increasing number of mixed-race people more broadly, will lead to a fundamental change in American race relations,” says lead author Arnold K. Ho, a Ph.D. student in psychology at Harvard. “Our work challenges the interpretation of our first biracial president, and the growing number of mixed-race people in general, as signaling a color-blind America.”

In the United States, the “one-drop rule” — also known as hypodescent — dates to a 1662 Virginia law on the treatment of mixed-race individuals. The legal notion of hypodescent has been upheld as recently as 1985, when a Louisiana court ruled that a woman with a black great-great-great-great-grandmother could not identify herself as “white” on her passport.

“One of the remarkable things about our research on hypodescent is what it tells us about the hierarchical nature of race relations in the United States,” says co-author James Sidanius, professor of psychology and of African and African-American studies at Harvard. “Hypodescent against blacks remains a relatively powerful force within American society.”
Ho and Sidanius, along with co-authors Mahzarin R. Banaji at Harvard and Daniel T. Levin at Vanderbilt University, say their work reflects the cultural entrenchment of America’s traditional racial hierarchy, which assigns the highest status to whites, followed by Asians, with Latinos and blacks at the bottom.

Ho and colleagues presented subjects with computer-generated images of black-white and Asian-white individuals, as well as family trees showing different biracial permutations. They also asked people to report directly whether they perceived biracials to be more minority or white.

By using multiple approaches, their work examined both conscious and unconscious perceptions of biracial individuals, presenting the most extensive empirical evidence to date on how they are perceived.

The researchers found, for example, that one-quarter-Asian individuals are consistently considered more white than one-quarter-black individuals, despite the fact that African Americans and European Americans share a substantial degree of genetic heritage.

Using face-morphing technology that presented a series of faces ranging from 5 percent white to 95 percent white, they also found that individuals who were a 50-50 mix of two races, either black-white or Asian-white, were almost never identified by study participants as white.

Furthermore, on average, black-white biracials had to be 68 percent white before they were perceived as white; the comparable figure for Asian-white biracials was 63 percent.

“The United States is already a country of ethnic mixtures, but in the near future it will be even more so, and more so than any other country on earth,” says Banaji, Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics at Harvard. “When we see in our data that our own minds are limited in the perception of those who are the products of two different ethnic groups, we recognize how far we have to go in order to have an objectively accurate and fair assessment of people. That’s the challenge for modern minds.”

The team found few differences in how whites and non-whites perceive biracial individuals, with both assigning them with equal frequency to lower-status groups. The researchers are conducting further studies to examine why Americans continue to associate biracials more with their minority parent group.

“The persistence of hypodescent serves to reinforce racial boundaries, rather than moving us toward a race-neutral society,” Ho says.
The research was supported by the Harvard University Anderson Fund.
Source: HarvardGazette By Steve Bradt
Harvard Staff Writer
Thursday, December 9, 2010.
Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Supreme Court to Tackle Multiracial Child Adoption



High court to tackle Native American adoption dispute

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer
Sat January 5, 2013

Adoption case reaches Supreme Court

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: S.C. couple says it is happy that the high court will hear their appeal
  • Cherokee Indian man won custody of his biological daughter
  • S.C. couple's appeal will be heard by high court
  • A federal law meant to protect Indian family breakup is key to the case
Washington (CNN) -- A custody battle involving the "best interests" of a 3-year-old Cherokee girl will be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court, an issue spanning the rights of adoptive parents and the desire to preserve Native American families within tribes.

The justices announced they will hear an appeal from Matt and Melanie Capobianco, who legally adopted little Veronica in 2009, shortly after the birth mother agreed to give up the child. Oral arguments in the case will likely be heard in April with a ruling by late June.

The South Carolina Supreme Court in July ruled for the biological father, who had sought custody shortly after the child's birth. He is a registered member of the Cherokee Nation and is raising the child in Oklahoma.

Dusten Brown had earlier signed a legal document agreeing to put the girl up for adoption, but his attorneys say the father did not understand the extent of the waiver, and that the birth mother misrepresented the child's American Indian heritage to social service workers when the adoption was finalized.
At issue is whether Brown, as the onetime non-custodial father, can gain parental custody, after the non-Indian mother initiated an adoption outside the tribe.

A special congressional law governs such interstate adoptions, since the current 556 federally recognized tribes all fall under Interior Department oversight, giving those tribes certain unique benefits and rights.

Lawyers for the Capobiancos say federal law does not define an unwed biological father as a "parent."

The adoptive couple was excited that the high court will hear their case.

"We weren't sure what to expect," Melanie Capobianco told CNN's Randi Kaye. "It was a low chance and we just feel really extremely happy that they decided to hear it."

Her husband, Matt, added, "It restored some hope and a little faith in the judicial system."

The federal law in question is the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978, a response to decades of often abusive social service practices that resulted in the separation of large numbers of native youngsters from their families, in many cases to non-Indian homes.

The legislation was designed to "promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and Indian families by the establishment of minimum federal standards to prevent the arbitrary removal of Indian children from their families and tribes and to ensure that measures which prevent the breakup of Indian families are followed in child custody proceedings."

Brown's relationship within the "federally recognized government" of the Cherokee Nation means Veronica -- named in court papers as "Baby Girl" -- is a member of the tribe and subject to their jurisdiction.

"It's not anyone's intent ever to rip a child away from a loving home," said Todd Hembree, the Tahlequah, Oklahoma-based tribe's attorney general. "But we want to make sure those loving homes have the opportunity to be Indian homes first."

Still, the Capobiancos argue that the little girl's real home is with them.

"Veronica was always a part of our home from birth and we just felt like she was in a happy place and that those kinds of needs could have been met through us," Melanie Capobianco said. "I just don't think that was what Congress was thinking about when that act was passed."

As with many custody fights, there is wide factual disagreement over the circumstances of both the couple's breakup and subsequent adoption of the child. Opposing sides even disagree on what legal issues the high court should address.

The Capobiancos think the issue should be about whether the ICWA law can improperly block adoption proceedings voluntarily initiated by a non-Indian mother who had sole custody of her child, due to what the adoptive parents say is the Indian father's failure to establish a legal parent-child relationship under state law.

But Brown argues he successfully established paternity under state law, and qualifies as a "parent" under the ICWA, thereby giving him proper control and custody of his daughter.

He said in legal papers that the child was conceived when the couple was engaged, and "excited" he would be a father. But Brown claims the biological mother broke off the now-strained relationship by text message. He agreed to relinquish his parental rights in exchange for not paying child support, but said the mother never indicated she intended unilaterally to give the child up for adoption.

And Brown claims the biological mother tried to "conceal" his Indian heritage during the adoption process with the Capobiancos, who live in Charleston, South Carolina.

Establishing such heritage would normally make it very difficult for the Cherokee Nation and state social services to agree to any non-Indian adoption and removal from the state.

By this time, Brown was deployed to Iraq on a one-year deployment in the U.S. Army, making it hard to press his custody claims. Veronica lived with the Capobiancos for two years before the high court in South Carolina ruled for the father. Brown took his daughter back to Bartlesville, Oklahoma, on New Year's Eve 2011.
The state's top court that ruled in his favor said Brown had "a deeply embedded relationship" with his American Indian heritage, in which Veronica will be raised.

But the Capobiancos point to another part of the state court's conclusion: that despite a ruling against them, they were "ideal parents who have exhibited the ability to provide a loving family environment." That court said its hands were tied, and that federal law trumped state law.

"Courts in seven states have held that ICWA does not bar courts from terminating the parental rights of a non-custodial father under state law when the father abandoned his child to the sole custody of a non-Indian mother," said Lisa Blatt, attorney for the couple.

She says the father's initial agreement to give up his parental rights meant he forfeited any subsequent efforts to establish custody, when the child was already in a happy, stable home environment.
The Capobiancos argue Brown had refused to offer any financial assistance to the biological mother until they were married and "wanted nothing to do" with the pregnancy.

As a single mother with two other young children, the biological mother felt she had no choice but to give her daughter up for adoption, said a legal brief filed by her lawyers. They say she complied with the adoption laws in both states and with the tribe.
The couple also says they long wanted to be parents and had seven unsuccessful attempts at in vitro fertilization.

She is a child developmental psychologist and he is an automotive body technician. They were in the room when Veronica was born, and had an "open" adoption, meaning the biological mother could and did maintain a relationship with Veronica.
The case is Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, a Minor Child Under the Age of Fourteen Years (12-399). 
Source: CNN

Another Interracial Family in Washington Politics


Sean Maloney gets right to work in Washington

Congressman casts first vote after taking oath


John Boehner, Sean Patrick Maloney
Rep. Sean Maloney sworn in with his husband and children. House Speaker John Boehner, left, and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., right, on Thursday. With them are Maloney's partner Randy Florke and daughters Essie and Daley Maloney Florke. / Charles Dharapak/AP

WASHINGTON
 — Sean Maloney, a Democrat from Cold Spring, took the oath of office Wednesday as the new congressman representing the Lower Hudson Valley.
Maloney joined most members of his party in unsuccessfully voting for Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California to serve as House speaker.
Instead, Pelosi will continue to serve as House minority leader. Republican Rep. John Boehner of Ohio was re-elected as speaker.
Maloney brought two of his three children to the floor of the House for his official swearing-in by Boehner, who followed the custom of swearing in all House members en masse immediately after his selection as their leader.
Maloney is one of 21 Democrats in the New York delegation and one of two members of Congress named Maloney representing New York in the House (the other is Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan). That means the House will list Sean Maloney’s first name for all votes.
Another new member of the New York delegation, Republican Rep. Chris Collins of Buffalo, is one of two House members with that name, but he will be known as Collins of New York. The other Collins is Republican Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia.
Maloney’s first New York-related vote will be today, when the House is scheduled to consider giving the National Flood Insurance Program an additional $9.7 billion in borrowing authority to handle claims filed in connection with Superstorm Sandy.
He expressed disappointment that the House did not vote earlier this week on a package of $60.4 billion in Sandy disaster aid prior to the end of the 112th Congress.
“I think it’s a disgrace it hasn’t happened before now,” he said.
Maloney plans to deliver his first floor speech today in support of the flood insurance funding.
Because of redistricting, New York has two fewer House seats — 27 instead of 29 — as the new Congress begins. The number of Republicans in the delegation has decreased from eight to six.
Among the former Republicans is former Rep. Nan Hayworth of Bedford, who was defeated by Maloney in November.
Source: AP and Gannett