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Southern TV chef Paula Deen
June 27th, 2013
07:00 AM ET

Opinion: Half-baked apology is recipe for racial indigestion

Editor's note: Tricia Rose is the incoming director of Brown University's Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, where she teaches Africana studies. She is the author of "Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America" and "The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop - And Why It Matters."

By Tricia Rose, Special to CNN

(CNN) - As Paula Deen's apology tour continues, it becomes more and more disturbing to watch.

With each heartfelt tearful statement, Deen seems completely uninterested in the broader contexts of her comments, missing ample opportunities to address the reality of racism today both in the form of cultural and social interactions, but even more powerfully by policies and actions.

I heard her speak very little about the extraordinary injuries and injustices black people face, I have not heard her show alliance with those who fight racism nor show solidarity with or compassion for black people based on the profound impact racism has on their lives.

FULL STORY
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Opinion: Are female leaders too cheerful for their own good?
rom first lady to senator to secretary of state, Hillary Clinton felt the Goldilocks Syndrome, says Sylvia Ann Hewlett.
June 19th, 2013
05:30 PM ET

Opinion: Are female leaders too cheerful for their own good?

Editor's note: Sylvia Ann Hewlett is an economist and the founding president and CEO of the Center for Talent Innovation, a Manhattan-based think tank. For the last nine years she's directed the Gender and Policy Program at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. She's also co-director of the Women's Leadership Program at the Columbia Business School, and is the author of the forthcoming "Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor."

By Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Early in Dara's career, she was told by a coach that "honey attracts more bees than vinegar," so she took pains to rein in her natural candor and soften her opinions. But when she started her present job as vice president at a national retailer, her boss told her she was too nice. "Where's the balance?" Dara muses. "Do they want me to be harder or softer? With men or with women? With my superiors or my subordinates? It's tricky to figure out."

Call it the Goldilocks Syndrome. That's the double bind women too often find themselves entangled in when they try to prove they have what it takes to be a leader. They're called out for being either too this or too that: too feminine or too masculine, too self-deprecating or too self-aggrandizing, too frumpy or too provocative, too bossy (read: bitch) or too circumspect (read: cream puff). They're never "just right."

In short, smart women face tough choices. Should they try to be perceived as competent or likeable? A recent study suggests cheerfulness could hold back female leaders, which is just the latest in a body of research exploring the behavioral barriers women encounter on the road to the top.

FULL STORY
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Opinion: The mariachi singer is more American than his critics
Sebastien De La Cruz sings the national anthem prior to the start of game 4 in the NBA finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat on June 13 in San Antonio, Texas.
June 17th, 2013
10:06 AM ET

Opinion: The mariachi singer is more American than his critics

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter: @rubennavarrette.

By Ruben Navarette, CNN Contributor

(CNN) - The scoreboard was clear.

Winner: 11-year-old Sebastien De La Cruz, "El Charro de Oro" (the golden horseman) who became a national story after he sang the national anthem at Game 3 of the NBA playoff series between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat and showed a lot of a talent, heart and class.

Losers: The haters and racists who - displaying a lot of ignorance - hid behind the anonymity of Twitter to spew venom and attack the little guy because they thought that no one dressed in a mariachi outfit was certified American enough to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner."

ere's a sample:

"This lil Mexican snuck in the country like 4 hours ago now he's singing the anthem" - Francois@A2daO

"Who dat lil #Wetback sangin the national anthem at the #Heat game????" - TJ THA DJ@Tj_Tha_Dj

"Can't believe they had the nerve to have a beaner sing the national anthem of AMERICA #smh" - THE_GREAT_WHITE@bdub597

"Is this the American National Anthem or the Mexican Hat Dance? Get this lil kid out of here" - StevenDavid@A1R_STEVEN

"So illegal aliens can sing The National Anthem @ games now?" - Mr.CheckYaDm@DJ_BMONEY

What does it mean to be an American anyway?

Read Ruben Navarette's full column
Opinion: The importance of ‘Loving’ in the face of racism
June 12 is the anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 Supreme Court decision that struck down all laws against interracial marriage
June 12th, 2013
01:29 PM ET

Opinion: The importance of ‘Loving’ in the face of racism

Editor's note: June 12 is the 46th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia,  which made interracial marriage legal in the United States.  Thousands of people nationwide celebrate that anniversary as “Loving Day'.  Ken Tanabe is the founder and president of Loving Day, an international, annual celebration that aims to build multicultural community and fight racial prejudice through education. He is a speaker on multiracial identity, community organizing and social change through design. 

By Ken Tanabe, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Racism is alive and well in 2013, and what’s striking is the recent notable examples aimed at interracial couples - or one of their children.

Even breakfast cereal commercials aren’t safe. A recent Cheerios ad depicting an interracial couple and their multiracial child got so many racist remarks on YouTube that the company had to disable the comments.

There is nothing out of the ordinary about the commercial, except that the parents happen to be an interracial couple.

But the truth is, racially blended families are becoming more ordinary every day, due to the 1967 Supreme Court decision that declared all laws against interracial marriage unconstitutional.

Opinion: Two different marriage bans, both wrong

Today is the 46th anniversary of that decision, and one in seven new marriages in the United States is interracial or interethnic.  Multiracial Americans are the fastest-growing youth demographic.

Number of interracial couples in U.S. reaches all-time high

While the negative comments about the Cheerios commercial made it newsworthy, there were also many others who showed their support for the Cheerios brand.

Multiracial Americans of Southern California, a multiethnic community group, started a Facebook album for people to post photos of themselves holding a box of Cheerios. And in articles and in social media, supporters expressed gratitude to General Mills for depicting a multiracial family.

The weddings of two multiracial couples from high-profile families also prompted racist comments online. Lindsay Marie Boehner, daughter of House Speaker John Boehner, married Dominic Lakhan, a black Jamaican man. And Jack McCain, son of Sen. John McCain, married Renee Swift, a woman of color.

The reaction to these marriages is reminiscent of the response to the marriage of Peggy Rusk – the daughter of then-Secretary of State Dean Rusk – and Guy Smith, a black man. In 1967, their interracial marriage was a cover story, several months after laws against interracial marriage were struck down.

Things have changed since then, but not enough.

In a 2011 Gallup poll, 86% of Americans approved of “marriage between blacks and whites.” In 1958, the approval rating was 4%. But it makes me wonder: What do the other 14% of Americans think? Apparently, many of them spend a lot of time leaving comments online.

The election of Barack Obama inspired many of us to hope that widespread racism was a relic of the past.

And while he was elected to a second term, we must not be complacent when it comes to racism in our daily lives. We must seek out opportunities to educate others about the history of our civil rights.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wished that his children would “one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” I wonder what he would think of our collective progress as the 50th anniversary of his "I Have a Dream" speech approaches.

On  June 15, the 10th annual Loving Day Flagship Celebration in New York City will draw an expected 1,500 guests. And while many participants are multiracial, anyone can host a Loving Day Celebration for friends and family, and make it a part of their annual traditions.

We need to work collectively to fight prejudice through education and build a strong sense of multiethnic community. If we do, one day we might live in a nation where the racial identities of politicians’ children's spouses are no longer national news, and cereal commercials are more about cereal than race.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ken Tanabe.

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Opinion: 'Me' generation aims to change the world
A recent Telefónica-Financial Times Global Millennial Survey looks at how technology shapes Millennials lives and outlook.
June 7th, 2013
05:54 PM ET

Opinion: 'Me' generation aims to change the world

Editor's note: Erica Williams is a social impact strategist and World Economic Forum Young Global Shaper. She is the CEO of EWS Strategies, a social impact consulting firm that works with high-impact businesses and next generation leaders.

By Erica Williams, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Millennials have gotten a bad rap lately.

Despite much evidence to the contrary, we are seen as selfish and entitled, with little regard for the actual values that we espouse and the socio-economic context in which we live.

But a recent Telefónica-Financial Times Global Millennial Survey - which spoke to more than 12,000 adult millennials, including 1,000 Americans - adds insight to not only what millennials believe, but also what they are doing as a result of their beliefs.

In a world with unrepresentative governments, rising economic gaps in a fluctuating economy, and persistent gender gaps, millennials are blending new ideas about work with their desire to change the world to confidently face harsh societal realities and realize their vision for a brighter future.

As a millennial woman who works to help businesses and young leaders do good and implement innovative social change projects, I have spent the better part of my career working with ambitious, mission-driven millennials.

I know all too well the economic, societal and environmental pressures that this generation faces.

For almost a decade, I worked as an advocate and young nonprofit leader, tackling these and other issues and had begun to achieve professional success

But a year ago, I began to feel an itch. I started to ask myself a series of questions that became louder day by day: Am I fighting these obstacles and pursuing justice as creatively as I know how? Are there new – better and faster – ways to change the world? Am I really making a difference – and doing so in a way that allows me to live a full, financially stable life?

These questions – about money, creativity, work-life balance, and innovation – are often regarded as entitled and self-centered.

But they are far from it. They are a logical and empowered response to a world in which amazing tools are at our fingertips and unprecedented pressures are on our shoulders. FULL POST

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June 6th, 2013
02:13 PM ET

Judge in hot water: Allegedly said minorities are prone to violence

By Ben Brumfield and Marlei Martinez, CNN

(CNN) - Civil rights groups filed a complaint this week against a federal judge in Houston after she allegedly said during a lecture that some minorities are prone to violence.

Judge Edith Jones, who serves on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and was a Bush-era Supreme Court frontrunner, allegedly made the comment while speaking on the death penalty to The Federalist Society at the University of Pennsylvania in February.

The Federalist Society describes itself on its website as "a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of legal order."

In her remarks, Jones also is alleged to have said race plays no role in the administration of the death penalty, but certain ethnic groups commit certain types of crimes more often than others.

Civil rights groups, including the J.L. Turner Legal Association, say Jones' comments reveal a strong ethnic bias. They are pushing for an investigation that could lead to her removal from the bench.

The J.L. Turner Legal Association is an African-American bar association in Dallas. Its president, Mandy Price, told CNN that some attendees were shocked at what they heard and later complained.

"The reaction in the room when she made these remarks was one of shock, surprise, and offense," according to one account that the legal association collected from some of the attendees.

The Federalist Society itself, however, called the allegations "frivolous accusations."

FULL STORY
Opinion: Rubio's wild immigration ride
June 5th, 2013
08:48 AM ET

Opinion: Rubio's wild immigration ride

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter: @rubennavarrette.

By Ruben Navarrette, CNN Contributor

San Diego (CNN) – Former Wyoming Sen. Al Simpson knows a thing or two about passing landmark immigration reform. My friend and former graduate school professor did it in 1986 with the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which he co-authored with former Rep. Romano Mazzoli.

Simpson knows that the endeavor is not for the faint of heart, or the thin-skinned or the easily disillusioned. It means navigating one of the wackiest and wickedest debates in our public discourse. The immigration debate, he likes to say, is filled with "emotion, fear, guilt and racism."

It is no wonder that most lawmakers won't go anywhere near the immigration issue. For those who grab the bull by the horns and wrestle it to the ground, things can get frustrating.

So began the education of Marco Rubio. The Florida senator is the de-facto leader of the Gang of Eight, the bipartisan group of senators pushing for immigration reform. Rubio has become the face of immigration reform. He is the most articulate advocate and the game's most valuable player in large part because he is charged with rounding up Republican votes.

Meanwhile, if Rubio were to withdraw support for the bill, it wouldn't just be a game changer. It would be game over.

FULL STORY
Opinion: For strong daughters, stop with the sex stereotypes
Decades after the feminist movement, our culture still emphasizes girls' appearances, David M. Perry says.
May 28th, 2013
11:55 AM ET

Opinion: For strong daughters, stop with the sex stereotypes

Editor's note: David M. Perry is an associate professor of history at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. His blog is How Did We Get Into This Mess. Follow him on Twitter.

(CNN) - When the rocket scientist Yvonne Brill died in March, The New York Times celebrated her as the maker of a "mean beef stroganoff" and "the world's best mother." When my 4-year-old daughter, Ellie, a wildly creative and interesting girl, finished a year of preschool last week, her teachers gave her an award for being the best dressed.

A few years ago at my son's preschool camp award ceremony, I sat silently as well-meaning counselors called each child forward. Girls: best hair, best clothes, best friend, best helper and best artist. Boys: best runner, best climber, best builder and best thrower. My son won best soccer player. In general, girls received awards for their personalities and appearance and boys for their actions and physical attributes.

It was similar at my daughter's ceremony, where the teacher told us that all the children were so excited to see what award they would receive; it had obviously been built up as a big deal. The gender disparity was subtle but present.

Read David M. Perry's full column
'Attractive & Fat'
May 23rd, 2013
01:43 PM ET

'Attractive & Fat' ad spoofs Abercrombie

By Sarah LeTrent, CNN

(CNN) - Jes Baker is cutting retailer Abercrombie & Fitch down to size.

Baker, who blogs under the name "The Militant Baker" and wears a size 22, changed the brand's A&F logo to "Attractive & Fat" in a mock, black-and-white Abercrombie ad to challenge the line's branding efforts.

The photos come as a provocative response to contentious comments Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries made in a 2006 Salon article about the multibillion-dollar brand's target audience.

"In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids," Jeffries said. "Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."

The divisive remarks resurfaced earlier this month after a series of protests went viral, from Greg Karber's video of himself giving homeless people Abercrombie clothing to a Change.org petition for larger sizes by a teenage eating disorder survivor.

FULL STORY
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Opinion: We love and fear the Oklahoma skies
This sign warned drivers to slow down for Plaza Towers school, destroyed when Monday's tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma.
May 21st, 2013
06:16 PM ET

Opinion: We love and fear the Oklahoma skies

Editor's note: Nathan Gunter is the managing editor of Oklahoma Today magazine, the state's official magazine. A graduate of Westmoore High School in Moore, Oklahoma, he holds degrees from Wake Forest University and the University of Oklahoma.

By Nathan Gunter, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Oklahomans have a special relationship with the sky. We know how to look up. On the prairies of western Oklahoma, the skies are so big, and so full, it is easy to feel you may begin to fall upward, or even fly. To live underneath this unbroken expanse of heaven can be at once inspiring and terrifying.
Every Okie has seen those skies turn scary, and every Okie accepts that atmospheric instability is a part of our legacy. In school and from our trusted local meteorologists, we learn from an early age what to look for in a sky, in a radar map and in a safe place.
Green-tinted clouds are never a good sign; a hook echo on a radar - the telltale swirl at the edge of a storm pattern indicating strong rotation - means take cover. Underground is best, in a basement or storm shelter. But a small, ground-floor room with no exterior walls will do if the tornado isn't too strong. Cover up with a mattress or thick blanket to avoid debris; don't open all the windows in the house, contrary to now discredited advice; don't hide under an overpass.

FULL STORY
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