By Stephanie Siek, CNN
Cleveland (CNN) – It's the Cleveland Indians home opener and the grounds outside Progressive Field are a sea of red and blue jerseys. As the crowds of celebratory fans walk toward the ballpark’s entrance, they pass a small group of protesters holding signs that say that the team’s name and mascot, Chief Wahoo, are racist and offensive.
About 10 people stand in a small park next to the stadium, quietly holding signs that say "People Not Mascots" and "Stop Teaching Your Children Racism." Every once in a while, someone in the stream of baseball fans pauses to shout mockingly, "Chief Wahoo Rules!", "You killed Custer" or just "Shut up!"
Robert Roche, executive director of Cleveland's American Indian Education Center and a Chiricahua Apache tribal member, says it's been like this each of the 30-some years he's been protesting. The shouting gets angrier and more frequent the closer it gets to game time, with many of the hecklers fresh from the nearby bars.
"If you stand here long enough," Roche says, “you'll see that racism is alive and well in Cleveland."
Not long after, a man in dressed in a feather headdress, face paint and a sweatsuit airbrushed with images of Chief Wahoo walks past and makes faces at the protesters. People in the crowd around him break out in war whoops.
Editor's note: This is the fifth part of a six-week series on the perceptions of beauty. Last week, we looked at body image issues among men. Next week, we'll look at beauty across cultures.
For more on beauty and self-acceptance, read Kat Kinsman's essay, "Learning to love my big nose."
By Kat Kinsman, CNN
(CNN) - Lesley Kinzel is not a size zero. She's not a size 6 or 16 either. She wears a U.S. size 26, has no plans to change that and she'd be more than happy to share her style advice with you.
Kinzel, a 35-year-old associate editor at xoJane.com and author of the upcoming "Two Whole Cakes," is part of an increasingly popular online movement that celebrates fashion for larger women - without a tent dress or body-camouflaging cardigan in sight. The authors of so-called "fatshion" blogs - with names like Fat Girls Like Nice Clothes Too, Manolo for the Big Girl, Curves to Kill and Thicker Than Your Average Girl - seek to send an empowering message to their plus-sized sisters: We're here, we're fat, we look just fabulous - and you can, too.
"Fat" is a loaded word, often wielded as a weapon, but Kinzel hopes to lessen its power to wound.
Editor's note: The killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has sparked a national dialogue on race; now CNN wants to hear from you. At 8 p.m. ET Thursday at CNN studios in New York, Soledad O'Brien is hosting a town hall meeting called "Beyond Trayvon: Race and Justice in America." The special will air at 8 p.m. ET Friday on CNN.
Join the conversation in a live blog of the broadcast starting at 8 p.m. ET Friday on CNN's In America blog.
By Mallory Simon, CNN
Sanford, Florida (CNN) - Nearly everyone in Sanford agrees on one thing: The death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is a tragedy.
But his death has taken on a whole new meaning here, where media outlets from around the world have descended, to figure out just what happened more than a month ago when neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed Martin.
This once-quiet and quaint town is now the center of a controversy that has put residents in the position of examining just what the racial undertones of the case say about their hometown. And it makes them wonder whether they will forever be known as the a place where an unarmed black kid heading home from the store with Skittles and tea was killed by a Hispanic man claiming self-defense.
For some, the case has become a rallying cry, a chance to air what they believe are years of grievances and cases of injustice between the police, the courts and the black community. For others, it has forced them to defend their town as a place that is not an inherently racist, a place where a young black man cannot be killed without consequence.
By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
(CNN) - Whether you're a high schooler or Ted Kaczynski, a soccer mom or a Rocky Balboa fan, you've likely embraced the hooded sweatshirt at some point in life.
For all its comfort and simplicity, the hoodie leads a dual life. Utilitarian and homogenous in form, hooded garments have been wardrobe staples of monks and hip-hop stars, Silicon Valley programmers and tycoons alike.
Yet it still carries a social stigma that has made it the object of legislative bans and political speeches. Now, amid widespread outcry over the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, the hoodie has become a symbol of social injustice.
By Wayne Drash, CNN
Memphis, Tennessee (CNN) - With just over three minutes left in the state championship, Coach Penny Hardaway called a timeout.
He didn't like what he was seeing. Down by 15 points, his middle schoolers were quitting. It stood against everything he had instilled in them:
Don't use the inner city as an excuse to fail.
You can overcome your circumstances.
Always dream big.
The former NBA All-Star and greatest basketball player in Memphis history huddled his team of 12 together. He looked them in the eyes. He could see his reflection from 25 years ago: young teens from the city's roughest projects longing for positive mentors.
"Just give me all you got," he told them.
Editor's note: The next Latino in America documentary anchored by Soledad O’Brien focuses on Latino voters. Click the Latino in America tag below or follow @cnnlia for more updates on other Latino in America stories. This is the third part of a CNN In America documentary series on American voters. Airing October 2012.
By Robert Howell, CNN
(CNN) - Redrawing Congressional voting district maps is never easy. But in Texas, in the midst of this election year, the already contentious process has been made even more volatile with its mix of race and politics.
When 2010 Census numbers showed that Texas’s population had grown enough to gain four new congressional seats, the process of drawing new maps began. U.S. Representative Charlie Gonzalez, also the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, says with nearly 70% of Texas’s population growth coming from Latinos, he and others in the community had hoped to see a proportional amount of “Latino opportunity districts” in the new plan.
The early maps–created by the Republican-controlled state legislature–left many Democratic lawmakers and minority groups unsatisfied—so much so that they sued in federal court to have the maps redrawn. The protracted fight has caused national ripples as well. The presidential primary has been pushed back twice.
After months of legal wrangling, the case was finally settled late last month by a federal court in San Antonio, but not everyone is happy with the results.
“In this case, the racial gerrymandering, this is probably the worst in 50 years.” That is how lawyer Luis Vera sums up the disputed maps that have come out of the redistricting battle in Texas. FULL POST