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Archive for the ‘police’ Category

>Some Blacks Still See Themselves As Underdogs

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March/April 2009
Rants and Raves

Reading between the headlines

RANTSA WE’RE-NOT-POST-RACIAL REALITY CHECK
A survey of dozens of Black doctors in the New England area revealed that most felt their work was affected by racism. The doctors, whose responses were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, reported being held to different performance standards; excluded from key workplace or social settings that enabled promotions; and pushed into limited roles because of their race. “We found that race consciousness is pervasive in the lives of these physicians,” wrote the report’s lead author, Marcella Nuñez -Smith. “They describe similar experiences regardless of their specialty or where they work.”
LOCKED OUT OF COLLEGE
While students are desperate to get into college, higher ed officials are working hard to keep them out. That’s right. The president and board of the California State University system approved changes to the application process that will make it harder for students to get into the state school system, which remains one of the most affordable options in the state. Chancellor Charles Reed announced that demanding higher SAT scores and pushing up the application deadlines would be a way to reduce student enrollment by 10,000. People of color make up 57 percent of the students on state university campuses.INSURANCE DOESN’T COVER RACISM
Taneka Talley was stabbed to death in 2006 at the Dollar Tree store where she worked in Fremont, CA, but the store’s insurance company, Specialty Risk Services, is denying Talley’s 11-year-old son, Larry, his mother’s death benefits. According to the company’s lawyer, Talley’s murder “was purely race motivated.” And guess what? They don’t cover racism. Larry’s grandmother, his legal guardian, is suing on his behalf.THE SOURCE OF THOSE RACIST SUPERBOWL ADS
The U.S. is a few years from becoming a country where so-called minorities are the majority, but some industries still run as if people of color don’t exist. The Department of Labor reported that the ranks of the advertising industry are 5 percent Black, 8 percent Latino and 3 percent Asian American. USA Today recently named the ad industry “a poster child for a dearth of diversity.” This disappointing news came after a dozen ad firms in New York (hub of the nation’s advertising industry) made public pledges to increase the number of people of color in their ranks when the city’s Human Rights Commission reported a workforce that was just 2 percent Black in 2006. Promises, promises, promises.RAVESHATE DON’T COME CHEAP
Jordan Gruver, a Panamanian American, was just 16 years old in 2006 when he was severely beaten at a county fair in Kentucky by a group of Klansmen. The Klan was at the carnival doing a recruitment drive that day. Today, the Imperial Klans of America are $2.5 million poorer. During a lawsuit brought last year by the Southern Poverty Law Center on Gruver’s behalf, a jury found two of the men who assaulted Gruver guilty. Let that be a lesson to Klansmen everywhere.
RACIAL EQUITY FORLIVER TRANSPLANTS
It used to be that Blacks on waiting lists for a liver transplant were 50 percent more likely than whites to die or become too sick to even take a new liver. But thanks to a system overhaul in 2002 that prioritizes the sickest patients, the disparity has nearly disappeared, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last fall. The previous policy had favored people who had been on waiting lists longer, which usually meant that whites, who have more access to liver specialists, ended up on the lists sooner than Blacks.
YOU CAN’T RUN FROM THE LAW, LAPD
We all saw the YouTube footage of the Los Angeles Police Department’s special brand of brutality at the 2007 May Day immigrant rights protests in MacArthur Park. Now, the LAPD is going to pay $13 million to protesters and bystanders as part of a settlement after hundreds of unarmed protesters were injured when police in riot gear descended on a crowd of protesters with batons and rubber bullets. Earlier in the year, Police Chief William Bratton suspended or fired 15 police officers for excessive use of force.

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>Anger in The Aftermath

>GRIEF IN JUYUAN
Facts of this article were gathered from Yahoo and AP accounts

Juyuan, China, May 15, 2008—Like most national disasters, feelings of the Chinese are razor taut. Friends and family of the victims have begun pointing fingers because there is a feeling of hopelessness and grief all around them. It happened in Hurricane Katrina and it’s happening in China, as recovery of the dead drags on.

Parents say they were only allowed to begin identifying their children on Wednesday. The disaster occurred on Monday. The bodies had remained inside the gated grounds of Xinjian Primary School for two days until officials began transporting them to the morgue on Wednesday.

The earthquake struck at 2:28 p.m. on Monday, and many parents rushed to the school. Xinjian had about 600 pupils, ages from roughly 7 to 12. When parents arrived most of the building had collapsed. They frantically pulled away bricks and chunks of concrete with their bare hands.

“We pleaded with the administrators to help us,” said one mother, Chen Li, 39, who came to the morgue on Wednesday to identify her son, a sixth grader. “We yelled, ‘Where are the soldiers? Send them to help us!’ ”

Ms. Chen said her son, Zhang Yuanxin, was discovered the same day as the earthquake but then left uncovered in the rain with other bodies on the playground. She said two trucks arrived Wednesday and carried away bodies shortly before Mr. Wen arrived for his inspection.

“I think there were 50 bodies in two trucks that were carried away,” Ms. Chen said. “I asked those people, ‘Are you taking the bodies away?’ ”
But she said local officials lied to her and said they were only taking away tents.

Parents say they became so angry over the situation at the school by Tuesday that they formed a committee and complained to local officials. Officials in Dujiangyan could not be reached by reporters for comment, but parents say the officials relented on Wednesday by moving the children’s bodies to the morgue and providing shuttle buses for people waiting outside the school.

At the morgue on Wednesday, parents walked through rooms lined with bodies on the floor, lifting sheets in the unwanted search to identify a lost child. Cai Changrong, 37, held an urn containing the ashes of his cremated 9-year-old daughter. His wife, Hu Xiu, could not stop wailing.

“We didn’t find any bruises or injuries on her body,” said Ms. Hu, the mother. “But she lost all her nails. She was trying to scratch her way out. I think my daughter suffocated to death.”

Several parents have called for an investigation into the construction quality of school buildings in Dujiangyan. They say six schoolhouses collapsed in the city, even as other government buildings remain standing. One man said officials built two additional stories on the Xinjian school even though it had failed a safety inspection two years ago — allegations that could not be verified.

Mr. Li, the father dressing his dead daughter, also said he believed that the school was poorly built. He arrived at the school minutes after the quake and spent the next four hours searching for his daughter. His forearms were bruised and his fingernails were split and bloodied from digging.

He proudly handed over his cellphone and showed a picture of his daughter, Ke, taken last week. But Thursday morning, he and his wife were preparing for her cremation. They struggled to slip her into the pink pajamas and then dressed her in a gray sweatshirt and pants. Her mother placed a white silk mourning cloth under her clotted black hair.

Mr. Li said he lost his job in 1997 and had been living on a meager welfare payment. He said the school was filled with children from poor families. “My daughter was a very good student,” he said. “She was a quiet girl, and she liked to paint. We’re putting her in these clothes because she loved them.”

He said he was angry and sad. He said his daughter’s body was still warm when he found her at the morgue on Wednesday. He wondered how long she lived beneath the rubble. And then he turned away, leaning down slightly, and whispered in her ear.

“My little daughter,” he said quietly. “You used to dress yourself. Now I have to do it for you.”