Editor's note: Roland S. Martin is a syndicated columnist and author of "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House." He is a commentator for the TV One cable network and host/managing editor of its Sunday morning news show, "Washington Watch with Roland Martin."
By Roland Martin, CNN Contributor
(CNN) - Acura found itself in a bit of hot water this week when it was revealed that a casting agency in Los Angeles only desired light-skinned African-American actors for the company's Super Bowl commercial featuring Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld.
The company apologized, but that hasn't stopped a lot of the chatter criticizing Acura for not doing more to keep the casting agency in check. This really isn't a new story considering how many times in the past we've heard similar stories, including that advertising agencies have non-urban dictates like refusing to buy advertising space on black-focused radio, TV, magazine and online properties.
Worldwide, nearly $500 million is spent on bleaching products, an effort for people with darker skin to lighten their skin. This is pretty laughable considering the lengths some whites go to darken their skin through tanning beds or even spray painting a bronze look in order to appear darker. (I'm still trying to figure out the skin tone of Speaker of the House John Boehner.)
But there is another critical discussion that must be had, and that is the belief that the lighter skinned you are, the better your life will be.
Read Roland Martin's full column
By David Close and Jason Hanna, CNN
(CNN) -- As Joel Ward’s Washington Capitals teammates swarmed their new hero after his playoff series-winning goal against the NHL’s defending champions Wednesday night, more sinister emotions were swirling on social media.
A number of people took to Twitter with racist comments, calling Ward – one of about 20 black men currently on National Hockey League rosters – the N-word.
Perhaps to those tweeters’ surprise, someone collected 40 of those tweets and put them in one place: Chirpstory, a site where one can aggregate other people’s Twitter posts for posterity. (Read the collection – contains offensive language)
To what should be no one’s surprise, the post caught the attention of sports celebrities and media Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
“Despite a black president, things haven't changed,” sports columnist and ESPN “First Take” contributor Rob Parker tweeted Thursday morning.
Read the full post on CNN's This Just In blog
Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.
Military to track how women perform in formerly male-only units - The New York Times
Opinion: Stop using 'white' like it's a bad word - A.V. Club
Minorities run many popular YouTube channels - The Washington Post
Opinion: Is TV 'whitewashing' real, and how does it matter? - The New York Times Room for Debate blog
Marco Rubio's grandfather was nearly deported back Cuba in 1960s - Miami Herald
African-American students most affected by Stafford Loan interest rate increase - Huffington Post
By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
(CNN) - The past few years haven’t been the best for a man trying to make an honest living selling tortillas in Arizona. Business owner Sergio Paez estimates that he has lost 20 businesses as customers in the past three years, from small neighborhood taquerias to chain restaurants.
In 2010, his tortilla business was suffering thanks to the nationwide recession. Then Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law the state's controversial immigration enforcement policy known as SB 1070, and things got even worse, he said.
“The law affected the immigrant population dramatically,” said Paez, a naturalized citizen from Mexico whose Phoenix-area factory produces about 200 dozen tortillas an hour.
“The economy had already been going down with the housing crisis – construction stopped, people were losing homes, jobs, cars. That triggered the recession, but I think this law aggravated it here.”
With oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court this week for the Obama administration’s constitutional challenge to the law, the outcome will have far-reaching implications for Arizona and other states that have implemented similar policies since 2010.
Read the full story
Editor's note: Read here to explore how beauty standards across cultures affect perceptions of beauty in the United States.
By Tomika Anderson, CNN
People magazine has named Beyonce as this year's most beautiful woman – and she's sharing the spotlight with her infant daughter, Blue Ivy.
"I feel more beautiful than I've ever felt because I've given birth," the 16-time Grammy winner and new mom told the magazine.
Can there ever again be an 'all-American' beauty?
The superstar singer and her husband Jay-Z welcomed their daughter in January, and Beyonce said she's "never felt so connected, never felt like I had such a purpose on this earth... She's just the cutest thing.”
Read the full post on CNN's Marquee blog
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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