Jan 21st

Worldwide, people rally in support of Women’s March on Washington

By Yasmin S

January 21 at 8:54 AM

Inspired by the Women’s March on Washington, people in cities around the world hit the streets on Saturday to show solidarity with Americans and to promote human rights and gender equality in their own countries. 

While the march in Washington was forecast to draw about 200,000 people, organizers said other marches dotted around the United States — and indeed the world — could collectively draw crowds 10 times that figure. Organizers said they want to send a bold message to President Trump on his first full day in office that women’s rights are worth defending.

Trump’s campaign was colored by sexist remarks, allegations of sexual assault and lewd comments about women that Trump dismissed as “locker room talk.” Many women voted for Trump, including the majority of white women. 

Some organizers have tried to play down the marches as “anti-Trump” and instead emphasize messages of unity. 

On a cold and sunny winter’s day, the crowd in London was large and lively. Demonstrators held colorful placards reading “Our voices together can’t be silenced” and, in apparent reference to Trump, “Even Voldemort was better.” 

Protesters gathered first outside the U.S. Embassy, and planned to wind their way through central London en route to Trafalgar Square. Among those expected to demonstrate was London Mayor Sadiq Khan. 

“As a feminist in City Hall I fully support the fight for gender equality,” Khan said in a statement. “It’s wrong that in 2017 someone’s life chances and fundamental rights are still dependent on their gender.”

Marina Knight, a 43-year-old executive assistant, was marching Saturday with her 9-year-old daughter, Phoebe, and with two other moms and their daughters 

“This is her first march — it’s the first time we felt it was vital to march,” Knight said, referring to her daughter. “I feel the rights we take for granted could go backwards and we owe it to our daughters and the next generation to fix this somehow.”

There were “sister marches” taking place in more than 70 countries spread across the continents — including the Antarctic, where a march has been penciled in onboard an expedition ship. The largest rally outside of the United States was expected in London, where according to a Facebook group, about 37,000 were planning to attend, and more than 35,000 were mulling it over. 

Protesters in Sydney joined the first of hundreds of women's marches around the world on Jan. 21, in a show of disapproval of President Trump as he starts his first day in office. Protesters in Sydney joined the first of hundreds of women's marches around the world on Jan. 21, in a show of disapproval of President Trump. (Reuters)  

“People across Europe and the world are campaigning because Donald Trump’s campaign has normalized misogynistic and sexist ideas,” said Catherine Riley, a spokeswoman for the Women’s Equality Party, a political party in Britain that has taken a leading role in organizing the rally. 

In Paris, thousands of women and men marched through the city’s grand boulevards in a rejection of the new American president that was organized by a network of French and American feminist organizations. 

“We are mobilizing as the new president of the United States prepares to apply the violently sexist, lesbophobic, homophobic, xenophobic and racist ideology that he defended during his campaign,” read the event’s Facebook page, which also listed more than four thousand attendees. 

But for Marie Allibert, one of the organizers, the message of the march was not entirely to condemn the words and actions of President Trump. 

“It’s more about women’s rights, human rights,” she said. “During the campaign there were lots of misogynist, racist and hateful messages, and that's what we're standing up against.”

Besides, she added, France itself has its own presidential elections looming in April and May, a contest that many have interpreted as a potential next chapter in populist upheaval. Marine le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front party, is climbing in the polls, and close behind her is the more centrist conservative Francois Fillon, whose opposition to abortion has outraged many women voters. 

“There’s a parallel between the situation in the U.S. and the situation in France,” Allibert said. “We have two major candidates that we feminist organizations think are a direct threat to women’s rights.” 

It is perhaps remarkable that so many foreigners are marching in demonstrations related to the inauguration of a U.S. president. 

But organizers said that interest was almost immediate.

The day after the U.S. election, a plan was hatched to march on Washington. Within hours, the American organizers started fielding requests from people in other countries who couldn’t make it to Washington but wanted to take part.

“In first 24 hours, people from London, Norway, Australia, Canada, Switzerland got in touch saying, ‘Hey, we’d also love to have a march in our country, can you create our own Facebook page for that?’” said Breanne Butler, a chef from New York and one of the event’s global organizers. 

To read more please click link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/worldwide-people-rally-in-support-of-womens-march-on-washington/2017/01/21/bc232bd8-de69-11e6-8902-610fe486791c_story.html?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.5fa45345f4fd

Aug 14th

The difference between White and Wong: Life choices bases on racism

By Yasmin S

Everybody is a little bit racist, aren’t they? In countries like India and Sri Lanka, we can dress it up as tradition, but we do make choices based on race and shortchange our selves.

Original Source: Written by Chhimi Tenduf La @ The Indian Express.com


For young people such as these to be exposed to different races and ways of thinking allows them to grow as people

For young people such as these to be exposed to different races and ways of thinking allows them to grow as people

There’s a song in the musical comedy Avenue Q called Everybody’s a little bit racist, and I think there’s some truth in that, at least with me. I crack racist jokes as much as the next guy, and, sometimes, I make subconscious assumptions about people based on where they are from. But am I really racist?

I don’t think I can be, because I’m a mongrel. Both my Tibetan father and my English mother were born in India and my wife is a Sri Lankan-Australian; I live in Colombo. When my children are old enough, they will have no idea what race they are because they are almost everything. They couldn’t be racist even if they tried, because they will say “we” more often than “you” and “they”. Being mixed race means that, like me, wherever they are, they will not be deemed to be the same as other people. But they will also not be completely different.

In Sri Lanka, I love people asking me where I am from because I have an unusual answer. A freelance local gangster (who is not the sharpest thorn on the pineapple so I doubt he will read this), baffled by my little eyes, once approached me at a nightclub in Colombo and inquired of my heritage. When I told him, he said he had just met someone of the exact same mix as me and made me wait where I was till he found said person. It turned out to be my brother.

In South Asia, we rightly call out racism in other countries, but more often than not, we expect our children to marry people of the same race as us. If we’re not trusting of another race with our children, isn’t that racist? We can dress it up as tradition or whatever we like, but we are making choices based on race and shortchanging our children by depriving them of the exposure to other cultures, ways of life and values. As a mongrel father, I will never judge my daughter’s future husband based on race and will be completely fair, and hate any man she brings home, regardless of his colour.

Sri Lankans are the friendliest people on earth and are so ridiculously hospitable to tourists and expatriates that they almost practise reverse racism. Being foreign is a key that opens all doors. I have never been stopped from entering a block of flats, for example, whereas my Sri Lankan wife (not that I have others) claims that when she goes to the same places without me, she has to produce her ID card, tap dance and sing the national anthem. This is likely an exaggeration, but it has got to the point that if my wife wants to get “fair” treatment at a shop, she takes our white baby with her. So foreigners get special treatment in this lovely country, but yet, a large number of Sri Lankans would not allow their children to marry them. Why is this?

I wonder how many people would be religious without their parents teaching them to be so at a young age, and, likewise, I wonder how many people would be racist without a similar influence. Older generations have thoughts that border on the racist without knowing it. For example, when the sewage pit overflowed at our home, one of my wife’s Sinhalese relatives, trying to be helpful, said, “I will find you a Tamil to clean it.”

“A Tamil?,” I asked. “Why a Tamil?”

“They are the only ones who clean sewage pits.”

I tried to explain what was wrong with this statement, but to no avail. I illustrated my point by refusing to do the washing up because I was half-white, but the relative just nodded her head as if to say, “Ah yes, of course, sorry.”

When I first met my wife Samantha, she showed me her Australian school photograph in which she was surrounded by 30 people so white their sweat could have been used as Tippex. Samantha admits she felt different than the other students but she loved it. And I love her, I am sure, partly because she is so worldly. Had we met at school and she was the only non-white in her class, I would have gone straight to her anyway, as it is much more interesting speaking to the person with the different story to tell and picture to paint. I love to learn from such people: taste new food, hear new jokes, pick up new mannerisms. I mean, I don’t know where the hell I would be today without my Sri Lankan head wobble.

To understand people of other races, it helps to be able to wear their shoes and mixed-race people have tried on more pairs than anybody else. Sure, we can never feel what victims of hate crimes go through, but we respect their difficulties enough to want to learn about them; to want to make sure our kids never perpetrate or are subjected to such mindless evil. Mixed-race people are exposed to more diverse narratives than the likes of Donald Trump and, thus, we understand the consequences of racial slurs.

Of course, it is not just about being mixed race, it is about embracing other cultures. I manage an international school in Colombo, that has had students from over 70 different countries. In my time, I have taught a lovely young Iraqi who happened to think Saddam Hussein was the greatest man of all time. I have worked on university applications with a Tamil boy from Jaffna who admitted he hated the Sinhalese until he actually spoke to some who were not in army uniform. I have taught a Korean daughter of a missionary who did not believe that gay people existed. When I convinced her that they did, she asked, “Do they have physical attributes by which I can identify them?”

“Do you expect them to have pointed ears?” I asked.

“Something like that,” she said.

For young people such as these to be exposed to different races and ways of thinking allows them to grow as people and know more about what is right and what is wrong, and not worry so much about who is white and who is Wong.

Not everyone has such chances. My brother went travelling on a house-boat, ending up in the middle of nowhere in England. A lady on a passing boat asked him where he was from and when he said he was half-Tibetan, she said, “I’m having such an interesting week with foreigners. Yesterday, I met a negro.” Despite her suspect terminology, she was genuinely thrilled to have had the chance to meet different people.

When I help students apply to universities around the world, I urge them to consider places which are not popular with their fellow nationals so that they are forced to mingle. I tell them of the time in London when I was the only non-black at a Zimbabwean friend’s wedding and I never felt unwelcome or different. That is, until the music started and everyone got up to dance. It was only then that I stuck out like a turd in a punchbowl, because all the Zimbabweans danced bloody brilliantly, and let’s just say I didn’t, and leave it at that.

At that wedding, I tried to remember all the mixed-race people I knew and I could not think of one who was half-Sri Lankan or Indian and half-African and I wondered why that was. I don’t know but all I can be sure of is that if either of my children wanted to marry someone black, I would be absolutely thrilled because then my grandchildren would be able to dance brilliantly. Even that thought, I guess, is a little bit racist.

Chhimi Tenduf-La is the author of The Amazing Racist and Panther.


Please visit the indianexpress.com to read more interesting op-eds by clicking here: http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/art-and-culture/the-difference-between-white-and-wong-2973387/


Aug 11th

Mixed marriages are changing the way we think about our race

By Yasmin S

Original Source: Jeff Guo @ Wonkblog -The Washington Post

Actress Aubrey Plaza attends the 20th Annual Art Directors Guild Excellence In Production Design Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)


For all the talk about immigrants refusing to embrace American ways — a defining controversy of this GOP presidential race — the evidence has been scant.

The National Academies of Sciences deflated most of the myths in a definitive report last year. Today’s immigrants are more educated and better English speakers than their predecessors, and they are far less likely to commit a crime compared to the native-born. They are quickly becoming part of American communities.

In fact, new immigrants may be assimilating a lot faster than than we had ever thought. A new study this week from economists Brian Duncan, of the University of Colorado, and Stephen Trejo of University of Texas, Austin finds that the descendents of immigrants from Latin-American and Asian countries quickly cease to identify as Hispanic or Asian on government surveys.

According to the authors, these are mostly children of interracial couples that aren’t writing down their diverse heritages. Mixed marriages are increasingly common in America — Pew finds that about 26 percent of Hispanics marry a non-Hispanic these days, and 28 percent of Asians marry a non-Asian. To accommodate this trend, government surveys now allow you to check multiple boxes for your race and ethnicity.

But it turns out that many aren’t doing that.

The report from Duncan and Trejo has two major consequences. First, it casts some doubt on the government's projections of the future Hispanic and Asian populations. Famously, the Census Bureau has predicted that non-Hispanic whites will become outnumbered in America by as early as 2044. But as Pew has pointed out, these calculations don’t take into account trends in how the children of mixed marriages report their own race. A fair fraction of people with Asian or Hispanic heritage actually consider themselves exclusively white (or black).

Second, the report may cause us to reconsider what we think we know about Hispanics and Asians. A lot of social science research relies on people to disclose their own racial and ethnic identities. If people who are part-Asian or part-Hispanic stop identifying that way, they, in a way, disappear from the statistics. What we think we know about Hispanics, for instance, may be wrong because a lot of people with Hispanic heritage don't consider themselves Hispanic.

Duncan and Trejo focused on the Current Population Survey, a monthly study of American households that supplies much of what we know about earnings and employment in America. For instance, the CPS is what helps the government calculate the unemployment rate, and it provides data for reports on, say, the racial wage gap.

The CPS contains a number of questions about heritage. People are asked for their race, their ethnicity, where they were born, and where their parents were born. Using this information, Duncan and Trejo analyzed how first- and second-generation immigrants from certain countries self-identified.

They looked at four Latin-American nations (Mexico, Cuba, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic) plus Puerto Rico; they also looked at five Asian nations (China, India, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines).

Among the first-generation Latin-American immigrants — people born in one of those five places — 98.6 percent checked the “Hispanic” box. Likewise, 96.3 percent of the first-generation Asian immigrants identified as Asian.

But the second-generation immigrants were less likely to identify as Hispanic or Asian. Only 93 percent of people with a parent born in a Latin-American country themselves identified as Hispanic. The difference was more dramatic for Asians. Only 79.1 percent of second-generation Asian immigrants identified as even part-Asian.


It’s important to remember that the CPS allows people to check multiple boxes for race. You can be any combination of black, Asian, white, Native American, and so forth. On top of that, the government also asks a separate question about whether you are Hispanic. This means you can be white and Hispanic, black and Hispanic, even white-black-Asian triracial and Hispanic.

The point is that it’s easy for people to indicate complex heritages on the survey form. Yet, many who are multi-racial are not doing this.

They might have Hispanic grandparents, but don't consider themselves Hispanic. They might have an Asian and a black parent, but only consider themselves black.

Duncan and Trejo also have some data on the children of second-generation immigrants, where the trend continues. The CPS asks parents to provide racial information about their kids. Of the kids with at least one Latin-American grandparent, only 81.7 percent were marked down as Hispanic. Of the kids with at least one Asian grandparent, only 57.5 percent were marked down as Asian.

These statistics highlight an overlooked way that immigrants assimilate in America — by literally blending in and blending families with the native-born. "In a lot of ways, intermarriage is the most intimate kind of assimilation," Trejo says.

But this phenomenon may also present problems for researchers looking to measure progress among minorities.

Duncan and Trejo have found that the second-generation Latin-American immigrants who refuse to call themselves Hispanic are more educated, on average, than their counterparts who embrace their Hispanic identity. It’s still unclear how big of a deal this is, but it seems that we have been underestimating the progress of Hispanic immigrants and their offspring because some of the more successful ones don’t mark themselves as “Hispanic” on government surveys.

A lot of this should have been obvious. Immigrants are everywhere in American public life. Countless celebrities, including Frankie Muniz, Aubrey Plaza, and Fergie, are second or third-generation Hispanic. Latina Magazine has a whopping list of 109 stars “you never knew were Latino!”

These are some of the faces that we may want to recognize in any debate about immigration and assimilation in America. The irony is that some have blended in so well, we hardly recognize them as the children of immigrants anymore.

Jeff Guo is a reporter covering economics, domestic policy, and everything empirical. He's from Maryland, but outside the Beltway.

Aug 11th

Could interracial marriages soon outnumber bipartisan marriages?

By Yasmin S

Original Source: Aaron Blake @ The Fix - The Washington Post

Would you believe us if we said you're about as likely to marry someone of a different race as you are someone from the other political party?

Buried inside a new Pew Research Center survey on political polarization is this nugget: Americans say they are overwhelmingly married to people with whom they agree politically. In fact, just 9 percent of Republicans and 8 percent of Democrats say their spouse or partner is a member of the other major political party.

Aug 11th

John McCain’s son to the ‘ignorant racists’ criticizing an Old Navy ad with an interracial couple: ‘Eat it’

By Yasmin S

Original Source: Emily Heil @ The Washington Post News

Sen. John McCain’s son, Jack, had a blunt assessment of the people criticizing an Old Navy ad featuring an interracial couple: “Ignorant racists.”

The controversy began when the low-price fashion chain tweeted an ad on Friday featuring a good-looking, adorably dressed couple with their “child.” Dad’s white, and mom’s black.

Predictably, there was nasty backlash on Twitter. And then backlash to the backlash.

Which is where Jack McCain came in. The fifth of the Arizona Republican’s seven children, Jack McCain is a Navy lieutenant and helicopter pilot — and he’s married to a black woman, Air Force Reserve Capt. Renee Swift. “To the people upset about the  ‘Scandal’ of an a picture of a mixed race marriage, eat it,” he tweeted on Monday, along with a picture of the couple in military uniforms.

McCain was only one of many people responding to the ad by posting pictures of their own mixed-race families.

A few minutes later, he tweeted a picture of the pair on their 2013 wedding day. “I hope this one burns too, you ignorant racists,” he wrote.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.


Aug 11th

‘God called my bluff’: A Christian blogger faces fury over a post about her white daughter’s marriage to a black man

By Yasmin S

Original Source: Derek Hawkins @ Morning Mix

When Gaye Clark prayed to God to send her daughter Anna a “godly, kind” husband, she got exactly what she asked for.

Glenn was a devout Christian who volunteered at church, mentoring kids in an after-school program. By day, he worked as an applications developer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and he was well on his way to becoming “a great dad and a good provider,” Clark said.

Glenn was a gentleman, too. Clark noticed that he’d hold doors open for Anna, even at the grocery store. Her daughter seemed happy, she said.

But there was one thing the 53-year-old mother was hung up on: Glenn was a black man with dreadlocks.

Clark, a white freelance writer and cardiac care nurse from Georgia, confessed in a blog post Tuesday on the website the Gospel Coalition, or TGC, that she initially struggled with the idea of her daughter marrying an African American man. In it, she explained how she ultimately came to embrace her daughter’s decision, and offered some advice for parents like her to consider if they, too, are hesitant about a child’s interracial marriage.

The post, titled “When God Sends Your White Daughter a Black Husband,” has since been taken down from the website, but not before receiving a hail of criticism from readers online, many of whom called it tone-deaf, un-Christian and downright racist.

Clark, for her part, thought she was being open-minded.

“I was proud of a wish list void of unrealistic expectations,” she wrote. “But God called my bluff.”

Clark said she never envisioned her daughter in an interracial marriage. But after Clark saw the sparkle in Anna’s eyes when she introduced her to Glenn, she came around.

In her post, Clark urged parents in her situation to keep an open mind, too. Among her recommendations: Be patient with bigoted family members, forge a good relationship with the groom’s family and “remember heaven’s demographics.”

Clark also wrote that “Glenn moved from being a black man to beloved son when I saw his true identity as an image bearer of God, a brother in Christ, and a fellow heir to God’s promises.”

However well-intentioned Clark’s words might have been, they backfired.

Beyond the intensely negative reaction on social media, Clark and her family received thousands of hateful comments and even threats from white supremacist groups, the site’s editors said.

On Wednesday, Clark asked TGC to remove the post, saying she was “profoundly grieved by the hurt and harm it has caused.” It was taken down later in the day.

Clark wasn’t immediately available for comment Wednesday.

The furor over Clark’s piece is unsurprising. Interracial marriage — which Clark acknowledged was once a “taboo” in white society — has risen steadily since the U.S. Supreme Court scrubbed the remaining state anti-miscegenation laws from the books in its landmark Loving v. Virginia ruling in 1967.

In 2013, a record-setting 12 percent of newlyweds were married to someone of a race different from their own, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census data. More than 6 percent of all spouses were married to someone of a different race, up from less than 1 percent in the years after the Loving decision. About 19 percent of blacks and 7 percent of whites who got married in 2013 had spouses of a different race, according to Pew. And the figure was even higher for black men, one in four of whom married someone who was not black.

TGC editor Jason Cook explained the editorial decisions that went into Clark’s piece in a podcast Wednesday that was featured in the post’s place.

Cook, who is black, said he had read the post before publication, as had Glenn and Anna. He said he also sent it to “multiple African Americans and people of color.”

“All these eyes that were put on this article all basically came back and said that the article itself was very helpful, that it was beautiful,” Cook said in the podcast.

But in light of the backlash, he said, TGC could have done things a lot differently.

First and foremost, Cook said, the site would have been better off inviting Glenn’s mother to co-author the piece to bring in perspectives from both families and both races.

Cook also acknowledged readers’ concerns about Clark coming off as a “white hero,” saying it “probably wasn’t the best for the main discussion of such sensitive issues.”

“There are a lot of things we could have done better, and we’re going to learn from this,” he said. “We hear our brothers and sisters, and we respect that.”

To read original post please click link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/08/11/god-called-my-bluff-a-christian-blogger-faces-fury-over-a-post-about-her-white-daughters-marriage-to-a-black-man/


Aug 10th

Public School Review Diversity Report: Which States Have the Most Diverse Public Schools?

By Yasmin S


Original Source: Grace Chen @ Public School Review


Which states have the most diverse public schools?  We analyze our data to find how much diversity truly exists on public school campuses. Learn about the varying levels of school diversity in regions around the nation, as well as the benefits derived from ethnic diversity in schools.

Public School Review Diversity Report: Which States Have the Most Diverse Public Schools?

American public schools have made tremendous progress since the Supreme Court declared school segregation unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education. Schools throughout the nation are more diverse than ever before as a result of desegregation, immigration of people to this country, and emigration of citizens from one region of the nation to another. Sixty years after the Supreme Court’s decision, schools in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and other southern states where segregation was once so prominent have shown great gains in diversity.
But which states have the most diverse public school campuses? We collected data and analyzed the numbers to develop an original list illustrating how much diversity truly exists in each state’s public schools. 
Diversity Scores of Public Schools
To equally compare the diversity of public schools in our country, we mined student population data and calculated diversity scores at the school, town, county and state levels. 
While “diversity” commonly refers to the presence of minorities, we were interested in understanding the presence of more than one ethnic group on campus. For example, while the Los Angeles Unified School District has many schools that have 90% or more Hispanic students on campus, this would be considered a homogenous school, rather than a diverse one.  
As such, our formula determines the likelihood that any two students are from different ethnic groups.  Scores closer to 1 indicate greater diversity, while scores closer to 0 indicate lesser diversity.  
When examining the various levels of scoring, school-level scores are more or less indicative of the town, county and state-level scores, meaning states with a greater level of diversity also have schools with a greater level of diversity.
There are, of course, exceptions to the rule.  Our data analysis takes the average across all of the schools, but there are always outliers.  
For example, 93 percent of Vermont’s public school students are White, giving it a state-level diversity score of .14. Yet, the Integrated Arts Academy at H.O. Wheeler School in Burlington has a relatively high school diversity score of .6147 because of large numbers of Asian and Black students in that particular district. Similarly, Cattell Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa, which has large populations of Asian, Black and Hispanic students, has a diversity score of .7644, whereas Iowa’s overall diversity score is just .32.
Despite these anomalies, more diverse schools tend to be in cities and states that have had existing ethnic populations for quite some time, or have experienced an influx of ethnic minorities in the last ten to twenty years.
Most Diverse States
Based upon our data, the 10 states with the most diverse public schools are:
       1.     Florida
       2.     Nevada
       3.     Maryland
       4.     New York
       5.     Illinois
       6.     New Jersey
       7.     Alaska
       8.     California
       9.     Georgia
       10.   Hawaii
It stands to reason that states with a more diverse general population would also have greater diversity in their public schools. Indeed, Nevada, Maryland, New York, Alaska, California, and Hawaii are counted in the top 10 most diverse states in America, according to the American Community Survey conducted in 2009.   
However, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, and Georgia – which appear in our top 10 most diverse public school states – are not among the top 10 most diverse states by the general population.
There are interesting trends to note when comparing the general population against that found on public school campuses. For example, New Mexico is the 6th most diverse state in the country, yet its public school population’s diversity ranks at 16th place.  Washington state ranks 20th for its diversity on public school campuses, but is 10th for its general population’s diversity. 
The discrepancy between diversity in public schools and the general population has several explanations.  One is the increase in minority population growth amongst the student-aged residents of the state, as compared to the non-school aged population. 
It comes as no surprise that states such as Florida and Nevada, both of which have seen explosive population growth over the last two decades, are at the top of the list in terms of public school diversity when examined at the state-level. Florida’s score of .69 is due in large part to increasing numbers of Hispanic students, who currently represent 27 percent of all Florida public school students. Florida schools have a large population of Black students as well, representing 23 percent of all students. Nevada’s Hispanic population has grown faster than most other states, and as a result, Hispanic students now represent 39 percent of Nevada’s students. Nevada’s state-level diversity score of .68 is reflective of this trend.
Another explanation for the discrepency of the general population vs. public school diversity is district lines.  For the vast number of public schools, their student population is determined by geographical district lines. While a state may have a diverse general population, it may be segregated regionally, with some ethnic groups congregating in certain school districts.
There might also be preferences in different ethnic groups for enrollment in public vs. private schools.  For exampe, while Los Angeles is one of the most racially diverse cities in America, 91% of the students enrolled in the Los Angeles Unified School District are minority students, mostly Hispanic.   However, in analyzing the general population of Los Angeles County, only 57.5% are Hispanic, while 41.3% are White and 10.7% are Asian.   A possible explanation is that a large portion of the White and Asian population attend private schools in the county. 
As another example of private school enrollment impacting the diversity of public schools vs. the general population is Hawaii. Hawaii is the most diverse state in our country, but it ranks at 10th for diversity in its public schools. In this state, the private school system is prominent, enrolling nearly 38,000 students across the state, according to the Hawaii Council of Private Schools’ Enrollment Report for 2011 – 2012. To compare, according to the Hawaii State Department of Education, there are 185,000 students enrolled in the public school system for the 2013 – 2014 school year.  Thus, private school enrollment constitutes about 18% of the entire student body of Hawaii. In contrast, in California, only 8% of the state’s students are enrolled in the state, according to the California Department of Education 
When examined at the town-level, the three towns with the most diverse schools in the nation are in the San Francisco-Oakland metro area.  El Cerrito, El Sobrante and Pinole, California have diversity scores of .80, .79 and .79 respectively. In each city, schools have large populations of Asian, Black and Hispanic students. In fact, in each of these three California cities, no ethnic group represents more than 42 percent of any individual school’s overall population.
Data gathered at the district-level shows that California is also home to the most diverse school districts. Elk Grove Unified Public Schools and Natomas Unified School District, both of which serve students in the Sacramento area, and John Swett Unified School District in Contra Costa County all have diversity scores of .78. Schools in these districts have a larger percentage of minority students when compared to the California average, as well as generally fewer White students when compared to the state as a whole, which accounts for their high diversity scores.
Least Diverse States
The 10 states with the least diversity on their public school campuses are:
       1.     Vermont
       2.     West Virginia
       3.     Maine
       4.     New Hampshire
       5.     Montana
       6.     Kentucky
       7.     Iowa
       8.     Wyoming
       9.     North Dakota
       10.   Utah
With exception to Montana, Wyoming, and Utah, the other seven states in our list are also ranked as the top 10 most diverse states by general population, according to the American Community Survey from 2009.
States in regions that have shown stagnant overall population growth over the last ten years have the least amount of ethnic diversity in their schools. According to information from the U.S. Census Bureau, New England and the Midwest have the slowest overall growth of any region. New England grew by only 3.2 percent between 2000 and 2010, while the Midwest grew by just 3.9 percent. As such, statewide diversity scores for states in these areas are quite low. For example, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire have three of the four lowest state-level diversity scores, with none being higher than .19.
Benefits of Diversity in Public Schools
Ethnic diversity in elementary and secondary schools provides students and teachers with a rich environment in which increased social interactions allow them to learn about other peoples, cultures and traditions. This, in turn, leads to understanding and respect for others. As reported by the Association for Psychological Science, students in highly diverse schools exhibit higher self-esteem, while having reduced feelings of loneliness. Students who attend schools with more diverse student bodies also report feeling safer in school and experience less peer-to-peer harassment.
In short, the more diverse the student population, the better students seem to feel. As the nation continues to grow and regions with less diverse populations attract more people, school diversity will continue to increase and so too will acceptance of others.
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Aug 8th

In the Obama family, we have a class act

By Yasmin S

Original Source: Saritha Prabhu @ The Tennessean

Saritha Prabhu

Michelle Obama says Hillary Clinton is advancing the cause for women so "all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be President of the United States." (July 25) AP

Michelle Obama put it poignantly in her convention speech about the race-based attacks: “When they go low, we go high.”


President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama stand for a moment of silence on the South Lawn at the White House on Sept. 11, 2013, as they mark the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.(Photo: Charles Dharapak / AP)

Whatever one’s politics, it’s safe to say that President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have been great role models for the last seven-and-a-half years. Only the racist or the hyperpartisan would probably say otherwise.

They have conducted themselves — as spouses, parents and public servants — in a way that has been a credit to their country, their race and their upbringing.

There has been no drama, no personal scandal, no public bad behavior from their teenage daughters, no nothing.

What makes their White House years remarkable is that they did so in the face of often ugly racial taunts and disrespect from not just some ordinary Americans, but often some elected leaders and officials.

We’re not talking here about legitimate policy-based differences with the president, which is fine, but racially tinged disrespect.

In particular, President Obama’s demeanor has been especially admirable. I always thought he was the Jackie Robinson of American politics — as the first African-American president of the country, he knew he’d face disrespect, but he also knew that, like Robinson, he’d not be able to have the luxury of showing anger or getting affected by it.

Michelle Obama put it poignantly in her convention speech about the race-based attacks: “When they go low, we go high.”

The list of race-based taunts and disrespect were many — from prominent people questioning his birthplace and his faith, from elected leaders like Gov. Jan Brewer to Rep. Joe Wilson to many others showing open disrespect, to the many racist political cartoons depicting the first family.

It’s true that past presidents like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush faced their own share of “derangement syndromes” from their detractors. But in Obama’s case, there was an added layer of ugliness and darkness to the verbal attacks.

To read the original post, please click link: http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/columnists/2016/08/07/obama-family-we-have-class-act/88274126/

Aug 8th

Speaker: Youth vote ‘crucial’ to presidential election

By Yasmin S

Original Post By: Paul Taylor @ The Recorder

CHARLEMONT — With all the clamor and divisiveness about the upcoming presidential election, where does the youth vote stand?

Former Pew Research Center executive and author Paul Taylor will discuss this and other generational changes in his talk, “Millennials and The Next America” on Wednesday. This is part of the Charlemont Forum at the Charlemont Federated Church, and the free program begins at 7 p.m.

Taylor says today’s 77 million millennials, ages 18 to 35, are the most liberal generation the country has ever produced. They are also more racially diverse, more accepting of same-sex marriage, immigration and aware of economic inequality. In Pew Research polls, more than half of millennials identify politically as “independent” — which is more than any other generation before them.

Taylor believes it’s unlikely the majority of millennials would vote for Donald Trump, but adds that Hillary Clinton may have to work harder for voter turnout among the millennials.

“Obama and Sanders have been the two candidates who were able to get their message out to millennials — Bernie Sanders with his economic message and Obama with (his message of) hope and change,” Taylor remarked. He said the polls show Hillary doing better than Trump with young voters at this point.

Taylor said Sanders won between 70 to 75 percent of the millennial vote in the primaries because they saw him as “authentic, an outsider, and not tainted by being part of a corrupt system.”

He said Clinton may not have as much appeal as Sanders, but “in Donald Trump, the alternative is so unpalatable.”

Although optimistic about their future, millennials are also the first generation in modern history to have less wealth and more debt than their parents’ generation had at the same stage of life. As a result, millennials are taking longer to reach adult milestones: living at home with parents longer, marrying later and having children at an older age. Only 26 percent of millennials are married, compared to 48 percent of Baby boomers when they were under 35.

“They’re the transitional generation to America’s majority, non-white future,” Taylor wrote in an essay for “The Catalyst,” which is published by the George W. Bush Institute.

He said 44 percent of millennials are “non-white” — Hispanic, black, Asian and mixed-race. About 50 percent polled think interracial marriage is “a good thing for society,” and about 35 percent think children being raised by same-sex couples is a good thing, according to Taylor. In 2013, about 16 percent of all marriages were between spouses of different races or ethnicity, he said.

“Millennials’ liberalism derives largely from something they’ll never age out of — their diversity,” Taylor says. “They’re the transitional generation to America’s majority nonwhite future.”

“If not for the votes of Millennials in 2012, almost certainly this year, the incumbent president running for re-election would have been Mitt Romney,” Taylor said. If the 2012 presidential campaign been held only among voters age 30 and up, Romney would have won by 2 million votes instead of losing by 5 million votes, according to Taylor.

He said Millennial voter turnout for Barack Obama’s re-election bid in 2012 was about 40 percent. But in the 2014 national election, without a presidential race, Millennial turnout was 20 percent.

Taylor’s book, “The Next America: Boomers, Millennials and the Looming Generational Showdown,” draws on his work at Pew Research Center to reflect on the political impact of young voters between the ages of 18 to 35.

Besides serving as the Pew Research Center’s executive vice president, Taylor served as president of the Alliance for Better Campaigns, a public interest group that sought to improve the content of political campaign communication on television. Its honorary co-chairs had been Walter Cronkite and former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. Before that, he was a newspaper reporter for 25 years, including at The Washington Post.

The Charlemont Forum is supported by the Cultural Councils of Plainfield, Conway, Charlemont, Hawley, Amherst, Heath, and Shelburne through funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

To Read Original Post Please Click Link: http://www.recorder.com/Speaker-Youth-vote-crucial-in-presidential-election-3881416

Aug 7th

To My Muslim-American Friend: About That Hijab

By Yasmin S

The hijab is but a frame for the beautiful person you are outside and within.

Original Source: Jennifer Reinharz, M.S.Ed Writes for children. Blogs for grown ups. Teacher. CrossFitter. Interfaith Mom.  @ The Huffington Post

Thank you for introducing yourself to me on the school yard when I was new to the community.  Had you not, I don’t know if I would have extended a hand.

When I first saw you in the neighborhood, I avoided eye contact. I couldn’t see pass the hijab. Your headscarf represented to me a religion of extremes, a culture of anti-Semitism and a stifling of the modern woman. I quickly concluded we were from different worlds and hence, unable to find common ground - until we did.

Our sons’ fast friendship led to ours. Several conversations, a few CrossFit WODs and a shared hookah later, my eyes shifted their focus.

Your commitment to Islam is rooted in a spirituality that transcends all religions.

When asked, “What did you learn from making pilgrimage to Mecca?” you told the young people at the local mosque that in light of the experience, both positive and negative, you returned grateful for the gifts God gives us as free, healthy human beings and with an understanding that He loves us, imperfections and all.

At home, you demonstrate your love for God through modesty, daily prayer, study and diet. But that love is also deeply evident in the thoughtful way in which you respect yourself, interact with others, approach parenting, nurture relationships and care for patients.

Your words and actions remind me we are all connected. 

You have an open, accepting and generous heart. 

 As a Christian woman raising Jewish children married to a man with a strong connection to Israel, I was worried my friendship with someone of Palestinian descent might be tricky.  I was wrong. 

From day one, you welcomed my family into your home.  You taught us about your culture, answered questions, appreciated our traditions, and even joined us for holidays. When my son swallowed a marble, you were at my door despite having worked a full day.  When I had jury duty, you spent the afternoon with my boys even though your children had busy schedules of their own.  You think of my family whenever you cook or travel and thanks to your charming sweet tooth, my children affectionately refer to you as “The Candy Fairy.” 

The goodness that emanates from you inspires me be better.

You are an advocate for women; a role model for your son and daughters.

Your dress may be traditional, but your ideas are progressive, willful and strong.  I was moved when in an effort to understand practices, question inequities and evoke change, you approached Muslim women in the streets of Mecca and asked how they felt wearing a khimar, a long garment covering their head, neck, and shoulders, ran errands in pants to encourage dialogue and questioned local leaders about the sanitation of the city.

Every day I watch you work tirelessly to support your family, use your education to help others, handle conflict and struggle with grace and perseverance, tackle new adventures with uncanny energy, act zany, be fun and simply love life.

You are an exemplary, modern American woman who I feel proud to call friend.

Connection and communication helped me confront prejudice, challenge stereotypes and understand a culture I knew only through media, politics and hearsay.  I have renewed hope for future generations when I see our sons playing, laughing and treating each other as brothers.

The hijab is but a frame for the beautiful person you are outside and within. 

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

To read Original post click here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/to-my-muslim-american-friend-about-that-hijab_us_57a619b6e4b034b258950652?