Tag: racial discrimination

University of Mississippi to Post Signs Recognizing Campus Buildings Built By Slave Labor, Renaming Others

University of Mississippi (photo via huffingtonpost.com)

by Zeba Blay via huffingtonpost.com

The University of Mississippi is taking major strides in acknowledging its racist history. The institution, affectionately known as Ole Miss, announced plans on Thursday to recognize pre-Civil War campus buildings that were built by slaves.

According to NBC, in addition to placing plaques on buildings built by slaves, the university will also remove the name of white supremacist James K. Vardaman from a campus building. Vardaman was the governor of Mississippi from 1904 to 1908. “As an educational institution, it is imperative we foster a learning environment and fulfill our mission by pursuing knowledge and understanding,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said in a news release.

Ole Miss famously became embroiled in racial tension and violence in 1962, when James Meredith became the first black student to attend the institution as the result of court-ordered integration. The move is part of an ongoing process on the campus to reconcile with its past, provide historical context, and create a more welcoming environment for a diverse student body.

To read and see more, go to: Ole Miss To Post Signs Recognizing Campus Buildings Built By Slave Labor | HuffPost

JP Morgan Chase & Co. to Pay $55 million to Settle Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

(photo via venturesafrica.com)

article by Adebola Adeniyi via venturesafrica.com

On Wednesday, a United States Attorney, Preet Bharara, filed a suit in Manhattan against multinational bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co., after over 53,000 African-American and Hispanic borrowers were charged more for home loans than white borrowers with the same credit and risk profiles by the bank’s authorised mortgage brokers.

JPMorgan Chase & Co was indicted by the mortgage brokers the bank engages in originating loans, and in this case, wholesale loans were disbursed to clients. According to an allegation made by a compliant, Chase allowed brokers to change rates charged for loans from those initially set based on objective credit-related factors.

The banking institution was found guilty of knowingly violating the US Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act between 2006 and 2009. There were claims that the bank acted with careless disdain towards over 53,000 African-American and Hispanic borrowers. The spokeswoman for JPMorgan, Elizabeth Seymour said the bank agreed to settle the allegation made by the complaint but denies any form of misconduct reaffirming that the bank is dedicated to providing equal access to credit.

To read full article, go to: JPMorgan to pay $55 million in racial discrimination suit – Ventures Africa

Also: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/01/18/us-accuses-jpmorgan-mortgage-discrimination-lawsuit/96710486/

President Obama Pens 55-Page Article on Criminal Justice Reform in Harvard Law Review

(photo via theroot.com)

article via theroot.com

President Barack Obama returned to his Harvard Law Review roots (he was the first black president of hundred-plus year old journal in his last year at the school) as he penned a 55-page-article on criminal justice reform, how his administration has moved the needle, and how far we have to go.

Entitled “The President’s Role in Advancing Criminal Justice Reform,” the piece appeared in the January 2017 edition of the illustrious book, and according to Harvard magazine, “largely restates the bipartisan case for criminal-justice reform, with an emphasis on mass incarceration’s financial cost.”

Obama did touch on the racial bias in our criminal justice policymaking in the article, writing:

A large body of research finds that, for similar offenses, members of the African American and Hispanic communities are more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested, convicted, and sentenced to harsher penalties. Rates of parental incarceration are two to seven times higher for African American and Hispanic children. Over the past thirty years, the share of African American adults with a past felony conviction—and who have paid their debt to society—has more than tripled, and one in four African American men outside the correctional system now has a felony record. This number is in addition to the one in twenty African American men under correctional supervision…The system of mass incarceration has endured for as long as it has in part because of the school-to-prison pipeline and political opposition to reform that insisted on ‘a stern dose of discipline—more policy, more prisons, more personal responsibility, and an end to welfare.’ Today, however, much of that opposition has receded, replaced by broad agreement that policies put in place in that era are not a good match for the challenges of today.

To read full article, go to: President Obama Pens 55-Page Article on Criminal Justice

Solange Knowles Writes Insightful, Personal Essay on Racial Discrimination

Solange Knowles
Solange Knowles (photo via solangemusic.com)
article by Lesa Lakin
by Lesa Lakin, Lifestyle Editor

Today I woke up to a Facebook post that my roommate from college shared on her feed. Her response to that tauntingly generic Facebook encouragement— “What’s on your mind?” seemed a little more perturbed, urgent and determined than usual: “This is a must read! #blacklivesmatter #takeaknee and if u don’t like my hashtags feel free to unfollow me.”  Whoa… okay, she had my attention. I found my glasses and I was in. The share was an essay by Solange Knowles about her recent experience with racial discrimination at a Kraftwerk concert.

The essay is entitled “And Do You Belong? I Do…”,  and the title is a pretty good indication of what follows. Here we go, I thought… I am about to read about how someone had caused Beyoncé’s sister to feel some type of way. I knew it would be a truthful expression of Solange having to deal with some, well… ignorant mess. I’ve certainly been there. This was going to be a level of discrimination probably more than the norm though, because why else make such an effort to share?

Solange’s essay is thought-provoking and definitely worth the read. She is insightful and honest about her past experiences with racial discrimination, as well as her recent encounter while trying to dance and enjoy music with her family.

Though the content of the post is not surprising – again, so many of us have been there – the trash throwing did surprise me. (Yes, someone throws trash at Solange and her family.) Really?? It was taken there??? But instead of responding in the moment in a way that likely would have brought negative attention to her and her family, I have to applaud Solange for instead turning to Twitter, then laying it out there again in writing, as well as covering the anticipated naysayers with intelligent responses.

Here is her essay in its entirety:

http://saintheron.com/featured/and-do-you-belong-i-do/

In light of GBN’s own essay on personal discrimination:

http://goodblacknews.org/2016/07/14/editorial-what-i-said-when-my- white-friend-asked-for-my-black-opinion-on-white-privilege/

We are reminded by her action that knowledge is power, well-chosen words are power, and speaking up in protest is power. I think it’s important that she bravely lays it out there for the world to hear.

Thank you, Solange.

AT&T Fires President Aaron Slator for Sending Racist Texts and Images, Faces $100M Employee Discrimination Suit

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 10.51.01 PM

Telecom giant AT&T has fired an executive who was sued this week for allegedly using his work cell phone to keep and send racially offensive images.  Aaron Slator was fired as AT&T’s President of Content and Advertising Sales after employee Knoyme King, 50, accused him and other executives at AT&T of subjecting her to discriminatory behavior.

“There is no place for demeaning behavior within AT&T, and we regret the action was not taken earlier,” the company said in a statement confirming Slator’s dismissal.

The images at issue were found in Slator’s possession when he asked an assistant to transfer data from an old phone to a new one, the lawsuit said.

One of the images depicted an African child dancing with the racist caption “It’s Friday N—-s,” the lawsuit said.  According to the lawsuit, Slator once sent the image in a text describing it as “an oldie but a goodie.”

“Slator harbors obvious and deep-seated racial animus toward African Americans,” the lawsuit obtained by the Daily News said. “Slator’s decisions regarding hiring, firing, promotions and raises are infected by his racism.”

The suit, filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, names multiple defendants including Slator, company CEO Randall Stephenson, other executives at the company’s Los Angeles office and board member Joyce Roche.

King’s lawyer Louis (Skip) Miller said Tuesday that Slator’s termination will not affect the lawsuit moving forward.  “If anything, it’s an admission of liability. It proves we’re right, that it all happened,” Miller told The News.

He said the lawsuit is bigger than one image or one executive.

“The issues in this case are age, race and gender discrimination, and they don’t stop with Aaron Slator. These images and issues were reported a year and a half ago, and the company swept them under the rug,” Miller said.

He called King a “very nice lady” who spent 30 years building a career at AT&T and deserved better. According to the lawsuit, King, who is African American, was passed over for promotions and given unfair pay because of her race and age.  “She’s a very down to earth, earnest, hard-working and loyal woman,” Miller said of King. “And she thought she’d have a career where she could move up. She never had a chance.”

article by Nancy Dillon via nydailynews.com

San Jose State College Expels Three Students Who Racially Harassed Black Freshman

San Jose State UniversitySAN JOSE — San Jose State has expelled three of the students charged with the racially-tinged bullying of a freshman and extended one other student’s suspension, requiring him to go to counseling and to remain on probation for the rest of his college career if he returns to school.

All four had been suspended pending final disciplinary action for allegedly subjecting then-17-year-old Donald Williams Jr. to repeated abuse, including wrestling him to the ground and fastening a bike lock around his neck, calling him racially derogatory names, locking him in his room and displaying a Confederate flag.

The university’s move comes after news surfaced in November that the freshman reported being tormented relentlessly for weeks. The revelation sparked community outrage, an internal investigation, an apology from the college president, criminal charges and the creation of a task force. All four suspects have pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor battery and hate crime charges.

African-American leaders were pleased to learn Friday that the university had taken stern disciplinary action. The expelled students are banned for life from enrolling in any California State University college, according to university documents and sources familiar with the investigation.

“It’s a no-brainer,” said LaDoris Cordell, a retired judge and city police watchdog who chaired the task force. “They have no business being enrolled at SJSU.”

Continue reading “San Jose State College Expels Three Students Who Racially Harassed Black Freshman”

Firefighter Jabari S. Jumaane Awarded $1.1 Million in Racial Bias Suit

Jabari Jumaane said that as a fire inspector he was subjected to racial slurs, jokes and other abuse. (Irfan Khan, Los Angeles Times / February 13, 2011)
Jabari Jumaane said that as a fire inspector he was subjected to racial slurs, jokes and other abuse. (Irfan Khan, Los Angeles Times / February 13, 2011)

A civil court jury Monday returned a $1.1-million verdict against the city of Los Angeles, finding in favor of a black firefighter who said he had been discriminated against during a nearly three-decade career because of his race.  The verdict comes after 16 days of deliberations — and six years after another jury ruled against Jabari S. Jumaane, who alleged a pattern of racial bias, harassment and retaliation in the Los Angeles Fire Department when he worked as a fire inspector. That decision was overturned after an appeals court granted a new trial, agreeing that there had been jury misconduct in the original case.

According to a 2012 report by the city’s office of the independent assessor on Fire Department litigation, Jumaane’s allegation of jury misconduct included a declaration by a juror who “claimed to have witnessed racially motivated misconduct by fellow jurors.”  The retrial jury’s ruling is a blow to a department that has found itself accused of systematic discrimination — particularly against black firefighters — in the past.  “We just received the verdict and are reviewing the decision and assessing all options including grounds for appeal,” said Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for City Atty. Mike Feuer.

Jumaane, who has been with the department for more than 27 years but is no longer an inspector, said he was pleased but not surprised by the jury’s conclusion.  “I think the evidence speaks for itself,” he said. “The evidence beckoned for the verdict the jury found.”

His attorney, Nana Gyamfi, said the verdict was long in coming.  “It’s more than just a sense of gratitude, it’s a sense of vindication,” she said. “As he said during the trial when he was questioned by the defense, all he was looking for was for some reasonable people to take a look at his situation and recognize the injustice within it. And that’s what happened.”

Continue reading “Firefighter Jabari S. Jumaane Awarded $1.1 Million in Racial Bias Suit”

Central Park Five Lawsuit: New York City Mayor-Elect Bill De Blasio Agrees To Settle Decade-Long Case Over Wrongful Convictions

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(From L to R) Documentary subjects Raymond Santana, Yusef Salam and Korey Wise at the Hollywood screening of the movie about their case “The Central Park Five” during AFI FEST in Los Angeles, November 3, 2012. NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has agreed to settle their case. REUTERS

New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has agreed to settle the Central Park Five case — a decade-long, $250 million lawsuit brought by the five men wrongly convicted of beating and raping a jogger in Central Park on the night of April 19, 1989. Filmmaker Ken Burns, whose 2012 documentary “The Central Park Five” tells the story of that dark chapter in New York City history, confirmed the news during an appearance on HuffPost Live Tuesday.

“These kids served upwards of 13 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit,” Burns said. “After they got out, they were exonerated. They then launched a civil suit against the city of New York that’s now 10 years old, and the city has just stalled and refused to settle what is clearly something that benefits not just the Five and their families, but the detectives and prosecutors who made a mistake and the people of the city of New York, and the rest of us that all bought it lock, stock and barrel back in 1989.

“Bill de Blasio, the mayor-elect, has agreed to settle this case, and though this is justice delayed way too long, and that is justice denied, [they] will not only be exonerated … but they will have justice, they will see some closure, they will be able to be made whole,” Burns added.

Continue reading “Central Park Five Lawsuit: New York City Mayor-Elect Bill De Blasio Agrees To Settle Decade-Long Case Over Wrongful Convictions”

Scotland Yard Found Guilty of Discriminating Against Kevin Maxwell, a Gay, Black Officer

Kevin Maxwell
Kevin Maxwell

From the Times London:

Scotland Yard was found guilty today (May 14) of discrimination, harassment and victimisation against a black, gay officer who was dismissed for “discrediting the police service”.

The overwhelming ruling by an Employment Appeal Tribunal in favour of Kevin Maxwell raises questions about the Metropolitan Police’s public commitment to stamp out racism in its ranks.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Met commissioner, pledged last year to be the “implacable enemy” of racism after a series of allegations against his officers.

Mr Maxwell, 34, a former detective constable in the Met’s Counter-terrorism Command, has fought a three-year legal battle with the Met since lodging a complaint about his treatment.

Stationed at Heathrow airport he complained of homophobic remarks and said ethnic minority officers were used as a “buffer” to stop passengers who would then be passed to white officers to be searched.

He lodged an employment tribunal claim but details of it, and especially comments about his sexuality, were leaked to The Sun newspaper.

In February 2012 an employment tribunal ruled in Mr Maxwell’s favor and also criticised senior Met officers for not appearing to understand their own policies on supporting whistleblowers.  Against the advice of the tribunal, the Met launched an appeal against the ruling.

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New Study: Black Students Who Are Taught Racial Pride Do Better In School

Remember how good you felt when Black History Month rolled around and you finally got to learn and talk about significant African American historical figures in school? Well, according to new research published in the Journal of Child Development, affirming a black child’s desire to learn about their race does more than just give them a personal boost, it helps them academically as well.

The study, conducted by Ming-Te Wang and James P. Huguley of the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard University respectively, found that “racial socialization”—teaching kids about their culture and involving them in activities that promote racial pride and connection—helps to offset the discrimination and racial prejudices children face by the outside world.

Continue reading “New Study: Black Students Who Are Taught Racial Pride Do Better In School”