Monthly Archives: January 2015

What Michelle Obama’s Missing Headscarf Did and Did Not Mean

By Michael Arceneaux

Michelle Obama

I do not envy Michelle Obama’s (pictured) position. No matter how innocuous her actions are — say, simply tackling childhood obesity with exercise and carrots — they are overly politicized. So many exploit her for their agendas even when she does not. The First Lady’s choice to forgo wearing a headscarf during an impromptu visit to Saudi Arabia following the death of King Abdullah is the latest example of such antics.

RELATED: First Lady Manages Strict Shariah Law In Saudi Arabia

Initially, there were reports that Obama’s face was blurred out by the government-controlled Saudi TV stations in response to her refusal to wear a headscarf or veil to the kingdom. Sure, there was a tweet criticizing Obama’s “immodesty” that was retweeted some 2,500 times, but Saudi Arabia has more than 5 million Twitter users. It’s a paltry sum that was exploited for dubious reasons.

And yes, Obama wore a headscarf in Indonesia in 2010, though she was visiting a mosque at the time. The bottom line is, as a foreign-born woman in Saudi Arabia, Michelle Obama is not bound to Saudi Arabia’s oppressive laws that treat native women like children.

In the past, though, former Secretaries of State Condoleezza …read more

Source:: News One

53 Percent Of Black Wealth Wiped Out: Foreclosure Crisis Erodes Communities Of Color

By NewsOne Now

Over the course of the last seven years, African American wealth has been decimated as a result of the foreclosure crisis in the United States. According to statistics, nearly 53% of Black wealth was wiped out as a result.

Washington Post’, national economics correspondent Michael Fletcher highlighted the impact of the housing crisis on Prince George’s County in Maryland. This municipality is considered to be one of the most affluent Black counties in America and has not escaped the erosion of wealth as a result of the nation’s economic downturn.

Fletcher writes in his Washington Post column:

African Americans for decades flocked to Prince George’s County to be part of a phenomenon that has been rare in American history: a community that grew more upscale as it became more black.

The county became a national symbol of the American Dream with a black twist. Families moved into expansive new homes, with rolling lawns, nearby golf courses and, most of all, neighbors who looked like them. In the early 2000s, home prices soared — some well beyond $1 million — allowing many African Americans to build the kind of wealth their elders could only imagine.

But today, the nation’s highest-income majority-black county stands out for …read more

Source:: Black America Web

Ga. Executes Mentally Disabled Inmate After Supreme Court Denies Stay

By NewsOne Staff

The state of Georgia executed a 54-year-old mentally disabled man Tuesday for killing a fellow inmate after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review his case, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Warren Lee Hill received a lethal injection of pentobarbital shortly after 7 p.m. local time at the Georgia Diagnostic Prison in Jackson, the news outlet writes. He was pronounced dead at 7:55 p.m., his attorney confirmed for the Times.

Hill, who reportedly had an IQ of 70, did not make a final statement.

Just 30 minutes before Hill’s execution, the Supreme Court denied a review of his case, the news site notes. The court rejected Hill’s appeal for a stay of execution in a 7-2 vote, with Justices Stephen M. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor dissenting, the report says.

Hill’s attorneys have long argued that Hills case underscored the “barbaric” nature of the criminal justice system, the Times writes:

“Today, the court has unconscionably allowed a grotesque miscarriage of justice to occur in Georgia,” his attorney, Brian S. Kammer, said in a statement after a stay was denied. “Tonight Georgia will unconstitutionally execute Mr. Hill, a man with the emotional and cognitive ability of a young boy. This execution is an abomination.”

It was Hill’s …read more

Source:: Black America Web

Study Reveals 100% Of Women Of Color Scientists Experience Gender & Culture Bias More Than Their White Co-Workers

By Shardae Jobson

The University of California’s Hastings College of the Law recently conducted a study of 557 women across all races on whether or not they’ve experienced gender bias. 93 percent of White women said they had, while 100 percent of the women of color that volunteered that they absolutely did. The study was based on female scientists working in the field of STEM research.

In the second stage of the research project titled “Double Jeopardy?,” 60 non-White (Black, Asian, Latina and one Native American) women also participated in more in-depth conversations with Professor Joan C. Williams. As an expert on gender studies for 25 years, Williams felt compelled to learn more about the prejudice these women have combated for simply being female, of color, and as scientists. As she told Mashable.com,If you ask people about gender in our society…what you get is information about white women.” She was also seeking to confront sexism in the science workplace.

A lot of the information Williams has disclosed is bleak. But it’s important that we’re all fully aware of the unfair circumstances these women have gone through. In the report, it was included that in some past situations, former female scientists endured so …read more

Source:: Black America Web

N.Y.C. Activist Makes Latest Court Appearance For Arrests Stemming From Last Year

By Hannington Dia

well-known-n-y-c-activist-arrested-makes-latest-court-appearance-for-recent-arrests-video

Well-known N.Y.C. activist Edward “Noche” Diaz (pictured left of center) of the Revolutionary Communist Party made his latest court appearance Thursday morning, answering charges stemming from arrests last August and November.

SEE ALSO: Kendrick Johnson’s Parents Won’t Serve Jail Time

Officers first arrested Diaz during a mass Times Square demonstration August 14th against the Michael Brown shooting. He received six misdemeanor charges, including riot, obstructing government administration, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and harassment.

A November 25th arrest for participation in protests against Darren Wilson’s non-indictment in the case brought five additional charges, including another disorderly conduct charge, unlawful assembly, and inciting to riot.

Prosecutors cut Diaz a break Thursday, dismissing his inciting to riot, resisting arrest, unlawful assembly, and the disorderly conduct charges from November; however, they added two additional charges to that case: obstructing governmental administration and a new disorderly conduct charge.

Diaz and supporters held a brief press conference outside the courthouse after the hearing, where he discussed his case in detail. He also revealed that prosecutors offered him a plea deal.

“Before they said that they were gonna drop all these charges, they offered time served if I pled to all the charges,” he revealed.

After a short pause, he reassured supporters, “I …read more

Source:: News One

Texas Inmate Set To Die Thursday For 1996 Slaying

By MICHAEL GRACZYK, Associated Press

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — Robert Ladd was paroled after serving about a third of his 40-year prison sentence for the fatal stabbing of a Dallas woman whose body was set ablaze in a fire that killed her two children.

Four years later, a mentally impaired woman in East Texas was strangled and beaten with a hammer. Her arms and legs were bound, bedding was placed between her legs, and — like the Dallas woman more than a decade earlier in 1980 — she was set on fire in her apartment.

Ladd is scheduled to be executed Thursday for the 1996 killing of 38-year-old Vicki Ann Garner, whose burned body was found in her Tyler apartment. His attorneys insist Ladd is mentally impaired, and on Wednesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step in.

The high court hadn’t ruled on the request, but a federal appeals court late Wednesday rejected another appeal challenging the potency of the drug Texas uses for executions, saying the best course would be for the Supreme Court to rule on the matter. If the high court refuses both appeals, Ladd will be the second inmate this year to be executed in nation’s most active death penalty state.

Ladd came within …read more

Source:: Black America Web

Arkansas Panel Rejects Removing Confederate General Robert E Lee From King Holiday

By ANDREW DeMILLO, Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A bid to end Arkansas’ practice of commemorating Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. on the same day was rejected by lawmakers Wednesday after opponents said the move would belittle Southern heritage.

The proposal would have removed Lee from the state holiday honoring King. Arkansas is one of three states to jointly celebrate the two on the third Monday in January. The House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee rejected the proposal by a voice vote.

The proposal called for designating Nov. 30 as “Patrick Cleburne – Robert E. Lee Southern Heritage Day,” a state memorial day but not a legal holiday. Cleburne was a Confederate general who lived in east Arkansas. The legislation also would have repealed a state law declaring June 3 as a state memorial day in honor of former Confederacy President Jefferson Davis’ birthday.

“This bill is not a bill meant to disregard heritage or to downplay history. It is not a bill to cause division of conflict,” said Rep. Charles Blake, D- Little Rock, who presented the measure to the panel. “The spirit of this bill is to allow Arkansans to honor our heritage and honor …read more

Source:: Black America Web

McDonald’s CEO Steps Down As Sales Decline

By CANDICE CHOI, AP Food Industry Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson is stepping down as the world’s biggest hamburger chain fights to hold onto customers and transform its image.

The company said Thompson, who has been CEO for two-and-a-half years, will be replaced by Steve Easterbrook, a company veteran who rejoined McDonald’s as its chief brand officer in 2013.

McDonald’s Corp., which has more than 36,000 locations around the world, is struggling amid intensifying competition and changing attitudes about food. Customer traffic at established locations in the U.S. fell 4.1 percent last year, following a 1.6 percent decline in 2013. It’s also trying to recover after a supplier scandal in China that damaged its reputation.

On Wednesday, McDonald’s said Thompson will retire March 1 after nearly 25 years with the company. Thompson, 51, was the first African-American to head the company since it was founded in 1955.

“It’s tough to say goodbye to the McFamily, but there is a time and season for everything,” he said in a statement.

A representative for McDonald’s said an unspecified number of employees at the company’s headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois and elsewhere were also notified of layoffs on Wednesday. In after-hours trading, shares of McDonald’s jumped 3 percent to $91.79. The …read more

Source:: Black America Web

One In Five Kids In U.S. Are On Food Stamps

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sixteen million children were on food stamps as of last year, the highest number since the nation’s economy tumbled in 2008.

Numbers released by the Census Bureau Wednesday as part of its annual look at children and families show that one in five children were on food stamp assistance in 2014. The survey was taken last spring.

The number of people receiving food stamps — now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP — spiked through the recession and has stayed at a higher level since. In the 2007 Census survey, 9 million children received SNAP assistance.

Participation and spending appear to be going down, though. The Congressional Budget Office said this week that the government spent $76 billion on SNAP last year, down 8 percent from the year before. That was the first time spending went down since the beginning of the recession.

Around 46.5 million people received food stamps last year, according to the Agriculture Department, which oversees the aid, up from around 26 million in 2007. Participation is expected to decrease over the next 10 years, though higher food costs could keep spending up.

…read more

Source:: Black America Web

Charges Dismissed For Detroit Cop Who Fired Shot That Killed Child

By Tonya Pendleton, BlackAmericaWeb.com

In 2010, 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was killed in her home in a botched police raid. Despite her death, the police officer who fired the fatal shot will never do time. After two mistrials, Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy announced that the city will not re-try former Detroit police officer Joseph Weekley.

Reports The Huffington Post:

“Today we personally informed the family of Aiyana Stanley–Jones that we have made a decision that we would not be going to trial for a third time in the Joseph Weekley case,” Worthy said, calling Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway decision to dismiss the manslaughter charge “unfortunate.”

Shortly after midnight on May 16, 2010, members of the Detroit Police Department’s Special Response Team initiated a raid on the Stanley-Jones home in search of a murder suspect. Weekley was first through the door and allegedly had difficulty seeing when another officer threw a a flash-bang grenade. Weekley fired his gun, killing Aiyana, who had been asleep on the couch with her grandmother.

Weekley maintained that he only shot because the grandmother, Mertilla Jones, struck his gun. She denied touching his weapon, and …read more

Source:: Black America Web