Black Families Were Better Off During Slavery. Huh?

I don’t expect much from Michelle Bachmann. Anyone who claims to understand U.S. history but states that the “founding fathers” did not care about skin color is clearly a deluded revisionist. Yes, Bachmann actually said, “It didn’t matter the color of their skin. It didn’t matter their language. It didn’t matter their economic status,” Bachmann told the audience while describing the experience of early settlers in America. “It didn’t matter whether they descended from known royalty or are of a higher class or a lower class. It made no difference. Once you got here, we were all the same. Isn’t that remarkable? It is absolutely remarkable.” While I understand that Mrs. Bachmann is not the most astute historian, she and other tea partiers who recently signed a document which made  a mockery of slavery and its impact on Black families should be censured.

Black Prodigy’s Admission to UConn Revoked Amid Claims of Radical Poetry

Jorge Rivas, Colorlines | July 18, 2011

Thirteen-year-old Autum Ashante is a child prodigy. She could read at age 2, and by 3 she was writing and performing poetry. Less than ten years later, at the age of 12, the Bronx native graduated high school and is now widely known as a poet, United Nations youth ambassador, speaker, and activist. But now it’s her poetry that conservatives have latched onto and made a fuss about. And in the hoopla, the teenager’s college dreams may be at stake.

Earlier this year Ashante was accepted at the University of Connecticut, where she planned to study medicine starting this August. Her single father, who home schooled her and recruited retired teachers to tutor Ashante, planned to move to Connecticut this summer before she started her college career.

“What she’s doing is groundbreaking but this is not about vanity,” Ashante’s father told NY Daily News. “It’s about setting the tone for other black and Latino children who will come behind her. They’re always being told they are underachievers. We want to show this can be done.”

But two weeks ago, the University of Connecticut rescinded her acceptance, declaring her not “academically ready”— although she has an IQ test score of 149. (The average college graduate has an IQ score of 115).

Ashante’s father, a 50-year-old retired corrections officer, told NewsOne that his daughter is “devastated.”  (Read more @Colorlines)


July 11, 2011 – July 17, 2011

Young, homeless gays wander streets of Boystown
Erin Meyer, Chicago Tribune, July 17, 2011

Michigan’s obesity problem: Why are we so fat?
Nancy Zielinski, Examiner, July 16, 2011

Woodland Hills Youth Development Center Career Fair
Richard Garrett, Clarksville Online, July 16, 2011

Volunteers help improve Black Hills homes
Mark Van Gerpen, Black Hills Pioneer, July 15, 2011

Youth stabbed in Vaughan
Joe Fantauzzi, York Region, July 15, 2011

Camp connects youth to history
Hannah Mask, Natchez Democratic, July 15, 2011

Castro queer youth space off to slow start
Matthew Bajko, Bay Area Report, July 14, 2011

Teens Tackle Tough Racial Issues at Academy
Stefan Verbano, Register Guard, July 13, 2011

Minority Youth Media Consumption May Be Hampering Academic Achievement
Nadra Kareen Nittle, America’s Wire, July 13, 2011

Michele Bachmann Responds to Mainstream Media Hostility
Sean Hannity, Fox News, July 13, 2011

Black Thursday at Police headquarters
Abiodun Awoiaja, N Tribune, July 12, 2011

Annual Black Expo Summer Celebration offers cultural experience
Kathryn Kenny, Courier Press, July 11, 2011

Mentoring group Concerned Black Men of Gloucester County reaching out to area youth
Joe Green, Gloucester County Times, July 11, 2011


70 Percent of Anti-LGBT Murder Victims Are People of Color

70 Percent of Anti-LGBT Murder Victims Are People of Color

MIchael Lavers, Colorlines, July 18, 2011

It’s an all too common, if shocking story: A transgender Latina woman with HIV is attacked on a street close to her home in a low-income neighborhood in the Bay Area. Making a bad situation worse, police officers literally drag her from her bed at 6 a.m. because they think she committed the crime herself.

“They kept telling her she wasn’t who she was, and that she was a man,” explained María Carolina Morales of the San Francisco-based Communities United Against Violence as she recounted the incident to Colorlines. “She was arrested. She was taken to the station. She wasn’t listened to. She spent the weekend in jail.”

The woman went to court a month after her arrest, but disappeared shortly after her court date.

“She was somebody who was unemployed, who didn’t have a safety net,” noted Morales. “We don’t know if she ran away, if she ended up in jail or [was] transferred to another place, another city. Her phone was disconnected the day after court. We just don’t know—don’t know what happened.”

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs released its annual report on hate violence motivated by sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and HIV status last week. The report documents 27 anti-LGBT murders in 2010, which is the second highest annual total recorded since 1996. A whopping 70 percent of these 27 victims were people of color; 44 percent of them were transgender women.

The study also found that transgender people and people of color are each twice as likely to experience violence or discrimination as non-transgender white people. Transgender people of color are also almost 2.5 times as likely to experience discrimination as their white peers. (Read more)


A Population Changes, Uneasily

A Population Changes, Uneasily

Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times, July 18, 2011

WASHINGTON — This city, the country’s first to have an African-American majority and one of its earliest experiments in black self-government, is passing a milestone.

Washington’s black population slipped below 50 percent this year, possibly in February, about 51 years after it gained a majority, according to an estimate by William Frey, the senior demographer at the Brookings Institution.

The shift is passing without much debate, but it is leaving ripples of resentment in neighborhoods across the city, pitting some of the city’s long-term residents, often African-American, against affluent newcomers, most of whom are white, over issues as mundane as church parking and chicken wings.

“You can’t help but look around and see the face of the community changing before your eyes,” said Tom Sherwood, co-author of “Dream City: Race, Power, and the Decline of Washington, D.C.

He added, “That can be an uncomfortable feeling, and you’re going to have some people acting out, expressing their concern in racial code words.”  (Read more)



Black Teens and Suicide: For the Love of Siwe

Black Teens and Suicide: For the Love of Siwe

Bassey Ikpi, The Root | July 13, 2011

Siwe Monsanto was a girl after my own heart — talkative, intelligent, funny. Even at age 4, she had the enthusiasm, confidence and spark that all girls are born with but lose somewhere between diapers and dorm rooms. I met her; her brother, Sule; and her mother, Dionne, within months of my moving to New York City.

Nervous and far from home, I fell easily into Dionne’s open-armed offer to spend time with her family in Harlem. Our friendship grew steadily, easily. Dionne was my adopted big sister, and Siwe, well, she was my little friend. My girl.

As time went on and I began to wear New York as my own city, I moved to Brooklyn. Harlem felt like another time zone. Between distance and being a touring member of the Def Poetry Jam cast, I saw Dionne and Siwe and Sule less and less, but email and the occasional phone call kept us connected. Unfortunately, honest conversation — the kind that goes deeper than “Sule got an A in math” or “Siwe grew an inch, with her pretty self” — was much more likely when Dionne and I could physically connect.

One day, during a break in the tour, I met Dionne for lunch. We spent time catching up, but the conversation shifted when I told her about my recent bipolar II diagnosis. Dionne exhaled softly as she listened and was filled with questions and concern. She asked about treatment and the stress of the tour. She wondered if I needed to come by the house and stay with her and the babies. My pride and foolishness had me shaking my head no before the words left her mouth.

After a pause in the conversation, Dionne looked up and said four words that, to this day, are seared on my brain: “I’m worried about Siwe.” (Read more)


Q&A: Wisconsin ID Law Will Suppress Youth, Minority Vote

Q&A: Wisconsin ID Law Will Suppress Youth, Minority Vote

Jonah Most, New America Media | July 14, 2011

Editor’s Note: On May 25, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed off on a new law, Assembly Bill 7, that requires Wisconsin voters to show photo identification at the polls. Critics of the law contend that this requirement will disenfranchise many youth and minority voters. New America Media’s Jonah Most spoke with Biko Baker, executive director of the League of Young Voters Education Fund, who is working on a campaign to help youth in Wisconsin obtain photo identification.

Jonah Most: What is Wisconsin’s AB 7 legislation, and why does it matter?

Biko Baker: The voter ID bill is something that recently passed through the Wisconsin State Legislature, requiring students to have an unexpired photo ID with an expiration date and a signature [in order to vote]. Non-students have to have a state-issued ID. My concern is that 50,000 young people of color in Wisconsin do not have the proper ID to vote. Young people of color have a right to have their voice heard.

JM: What does this law aim to achieve?

BB: The bill supposedly prevents voter fraud. However, one of the interesting things about it is that the U.S. Department of Justice did a study and went into Milwaukee and looked at all of the possible voter ID fraud [cases]. They only found 20 cases out of millions of ballots, and 11 of those were actually from felons who thought they [had the right to] vote.

I don’t believe that this bill has proven it will stop any fraudulent ballots. I think we would need a change if there were proof that our current system were broken, but it isn’t. In fact, Wisconsin had among the highest voter turnout in 2006 and 2008. I think the significance is that it isn’t actually about voter fraud, it’s about voter suppression. It will have the biggest impact on low-income communities and especially on people of color [and] I personally think it is meant to disenfranchise young voters.

JM: Who sponsored this legislation?

BB: It was a bi-partisan effort. Most people probably supported it. There had even been talks about it in the previous administration, so it’s not about partisan politics or Democratic or Republican candidates. But Wisconsin previously had some of the most progressive voter laws. Before, you could show up on the day of the election with a [utility] bill, with proof you’ve lived in the state at least ten days, and then go vote. So the tradition of Wisconsin is the exact opposite of this bill.

JM: Why do you believe this legislation will have a particular impact on young voters?

BB: Young people are transitory. They’re moving constantly [and] they don’t have steady jobs, so that is a huge impact. For people of color there are a lot of other issues, especially for poor people. There are barriers to getting a birth certificate, there is the fear of going to the DMV and getting arrested for past tickets, there are a lot of different layers.  (Read more)