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8 sneaky racial code words and why politicians love them

8 sneaky racial code words and why politicians love them

When Paul Ryan talked about a "real culture problem" in "our inner cities in particular" this week, he wasn't the first American politician to be slammed for using racially coded language to get a point across. Far from it.

Ian Haney López, author of "Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class," says it's not just the promotion of old-fashioned racial stereotypes that we need to worry about. Rather, he argues, it's the manipulation of racism in service of very specific goals.

López's book focuses on elected officials' ability to tap into bias without being explicit about it, all to gain support for what he calls "regressive policies," which, ironically, hurt working-class white people as much as people of color.

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Harvard minorities inspire students of color around the world

Harvard minorities inspire students of color around the world

The student group I, Too, Am Harvard at Harvard University, which celebrates diversity at one of the nation's top educational institutions, is inspiring other students from other universities around the world to form similar groups.

"I, Too, Am Harvard" is a play based on interviews with African-American students, exploring their experiences at Harvard College. The play was the inspiration behind the I, Too, Am Harvard photo campaign.

Throughout the photos on the campaign's Tumblr, students hold dry erase boards with things written on them that they believe or that they have been asked or told by students of different races. This campaign provides students of color with the opportunity for their voices to be heard on campus.

 

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The last black mayor of Chocolate City?

The last black mayor of Chocolate City?

In awkwardly timed remarks 24 hours after dramatic campaign-corruption allegations were leveled against him, Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray defied rumors of his political death spiral.

"I did not break the law," pronounced the mayor to a very pro-Gray crowd of several hundred this past Tuesday night, who complimented the moment with stand-up chants of "four more years."

That night in a Northeast D.C. auditorium, Gray may have temporarily reenergized "Chocolate City." But the campaign now headed to a hotly contested April 1 Democratic primary for his hoped-for reelection finds a black urban apotheosis a shell of what it was more than two decades ago.

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SAT officials hope to score high in eliminating racial bias

SAT officials hope to score high in eliminating racial bias


WASHINGTON – Administrators of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) have announced with great fanfare that they are overhauling the standardized tool that helps determine whether an applicant will get accepted into the college of his or her choice.

But in revamping the test, SAT officials are facing a test of their own.

"The redesign is trying to get a sense of what students learned in high school...and trying to help students demonstrate their critical thinking skills instead of just picking an answer. And that's all well and good," said Michelle Cooper, president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, a college-access policy think tank.

 

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If Ebony Wilkerson has a mental illness, it’s a wake-up call for all African Americans

If Ebony Wilkerson has a mental illness, it’s a wake-up call for all African Americans

Ebony Wilkerson is sitting inside a Florida jail cell, but should she be viewed as a cold-blooded criminal or a mentally-ill person in need of long-term mental health care?

Wilkerson, 32, has been charged with three counts of attempted murder and is being held on $1.2 million bail after she drove herself and her three children (two girls and a boy, ages 3, 9 and 10) into the Atlantic Ocean in Daytona Beach last week.

While it has not been confirmed, reports suggest that Wilkerson may have been suffering from a mental disorder, thus renewing public conversations on how the mentally ill should be treated by the legal system and society in general.

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Unemployment rate for black women falls to single digits

Unemployment rate for black women falls to single digits

WASHINGTON – During another slow month of economic recovery, the unemployment rate for black women 20 years and older fell to 9.9 percent in February, the lowest rate for that group in five years, according to the Labor Department.

Meanwhile, black men and black teenagers continue to lag behind other major worker groups.

In March 2009, the unemployment rate for black men 20 years and over was 15.4 percent. According to the latest jobs report, the jobless rate for black men is 12.9 percent, the same rate recorded in February 2013.

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Parents of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis protest ‘Stand your ground’

Parents of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis protest ‘Stand your ground’

The Rev. Al Sharpton, the parents of Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin, as well as Tom Joyner and members of the Dream Defenders, are once again marching for change to Florida's "Stand your ground" law, Tallahassee.com reports.

Joined by hundreds of other marchers, the group – including family members of Emmett Till – traveled less than a mile from the Leon County Civic Center to the Florida Capitol, calling on lawmakers to address the law, the news site reports.

"It's a flawed law," Sharpton said. "Because you don't need an actual threat. All you've got to do is believe a threat and you can use deadly force."

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