Tag: diversity

‘I’m Not A Token Or A Mammy’ Melissa Harris-Perry Walks Away From Her MSNBC Show After Pre-Emptions

Melissa Harris-Perry said she had received no word about whether her MSNBC show had been canceled. (Credit: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times)

article by John Koblin via nytimes.com

In an unusually public flare-up, one of MSNBC’s television personalities clashed with the network on Friday in a dispute about airtime and editorial freedom and said she was refusing to host the show that bears her name this weekend.

The host, Melissa Harris-Perry, wrote in an email to co-workers this week that her show had effectively been taken away from her and that she felt “worthless” in the eyes of NBC News executives, who are restructuring MSNBC.

“Here is the reality: Our show was taken — without comment or discussion or notice — in the midst of an election season,” she wrote in the email, which became public on Friday. “After four years of building an audience, developing a brand and developing trust with our viewers, we were effectively and utterly silenced.”

In a phone interview, Ms. Harris-Perry confirmed she would not appear on the show this weekend. She said she had received no word about whether her show, which runs from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and Sundays, had been canceled, but said she was frustrated that her time slot had faced pre-emptions for coverage of the presidential election. She said she had not appeared on the network at all “for weeks” and that she was mostly sidelined during recent election coverage in South Carolina and New Hampshire. (She was asked to return this weekend.)

In her email, Ms. Harris-Perry wrote that she was not sure if the NBC News chairman, Andrew Lack, or Phil Griffin, the MSNBC president, were involved in the way her show was handled recently, but she directed blame toward both.

“I will not be used as a tool for their purposes,” she wrote. “I am not a token, mammy or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by Lack, Griffin or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back.”

Continue reading “‘I’m Not A Token Or A Mammy’ Melissa Harris-Perry Walks Away From Her MSNBC Show After Pre-Emptions”

Brandeis University to Offer New Diversity Scholarships and Stipends to Graduate Students

(photo via www.brandeis.edu)
(photo via www.brandeis.edu)

article via jbhe.com

Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, has announced the establishment of the Diversity, Excellence, and Inclusion Scholarships. The program will provide full-tuition scholarships for five students in master’s degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts. Recipients of the scholarships will also receive a $10,000 stipend.

Laurie Nichols, Director of Admissions, stated that “we are looking for any students who may be traditionally overlooked by graduate admissions processes.”

Eric Chasalow, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, added that “a commitment to diversity is one of Brandeis’ core values, and some that we take very seriously. We have seen similar program provide benefits to our undergraduate students, so it made absolute sense to bring those benefits to the graduate student population.”

Brown University Pledges $100 Million to Address Campus Racism

Students held a Blackout Rally on the campus of Brown University on November 12, 2015. (Colorlines screenshot of Brown Daily Herald video, taken November 23, 2015.)

Brown University is hoping a new plan will help the Providence, Rhode Island, school create a more inclusive environment for its 8,800+ students. On Friday, president Christina H. Paxson announced that the school will invest $100 million dollars over the next decade toward meeting the goals in her new plan, called, “Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion: An Action Plan for Brown University.”

The actions in the plan—which is meant to address diversity and racism on campus—are organized around four pillars: Creating an inclusive learning environment, building and supporting a diverse community, creating pathways for knowledge and success, and creating accountability measures. Paxson posted the plan online as a working document and asked students, faculty and staff to review and give feedback between now and December 4. Then the document will be modified to take into account the input and a final version of the plan will be released before the semester is over.

Elements of Paxon’s proposal include:

  • Doubling emergency funds for low-income students for health insurance, trips home for family emergencies, laptops and books, and access to dining and housing for those who remain on campus during school breaks.
  • Hiring a dean dedicated to supporting first generation and low-income students.
  • Orientation for new faculty and staff will include training and awareness workshops around issues of race/racism, gender/sexism, sexual and gender identity, ability, and the intersectionalities across these areas.
  • Additional diversity and sensitivity training for the Department of Public Safety. 
  • Establishing a committee on curriculum changes.
  • Expanding the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America and the Center for Slavery and Justice and creating an initiative on Native American and Indigenous peoples.

The plan comes days after a November 12 demonstration where hundreds of students gathered at a solidarity rally to talk about their experiences with racism at Brown. Watch a video of the Blackout Rally below.

article by Kenrya Rankin via colorlines.com

OPINION: Shonda Rhimes Offers a New Word for “Diversity” — Let’s Start Using It

Shonda Rhimes (Source: Jordan Strauss/AP)

Once a term to describe the laudable aim of ensuring equal representation, “diversity” has devolved into a trite talking point.

It’s an issue that Shonda Rhimes, the mastermind behind television hits such as Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy and How To Get Away With Murder, touched on while accepting an award at the Human Rights Campaign’s gala event in Los Angeles last weekend. In her speech, Rhimes said she’s tired of the way “diversity” is understood by most people.

“I get asked a lot by reporters and tweeters why I am so invested in ‘diversity’ on television,”  Rhimes said, according to Medium‘s text of her speech. “‘Why is it so important to have diversity on TV?’ they say. I really hate the word ‘diversity.’ It suggests something other. … As if there is something unusual about telling stories involving women and people of color and LGBTQ characters on TV.”

Rhimes offered an alternative to the term “diversity,” saying she’d rather describe what she’s doing as “normalizing.”

“I am making TV look like the world looks. Women, people of color, LGBTQ people equal way more than 50% of the population. Which means it ain’t out of the ordinary. I am making the world of television look normal,” she said.

Rhimes makes a great point.

“Diversity” in itself has limits. In the past few decades, the word has become wildly popular, appearing everywhere from corporate websites to college recruitment brochures. In many cases, however, the concept is reduced to simply ensuring that a collection of people who look different from each other occupy the same space. That’s why many diversity fliers for companies and schools paint a picture of wide representation, but the actual demographics of those same institutions remain monochromatic.

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GBN Quote Of The Month

“America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.”   — President Barack Obama

NPR Announces Plans To Form Race, Ethnicity Coverage Team At UNITY 2012

National Public Radio, criticized in recent years for a lack of diversity of its staff and coverage, is using a $1.5 million grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to put together a six-person team to report stories on race, ethnicity and culture.
Continue reading “NPR Announces Plans To Form Race, Ethnicity Coverage Team At UNITY 2012”

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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