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The Geography of U.S. Hate, Mapped Using Twitter
May 20th, 2013
12:37 PM ET

The Geography of U.S. Hate, Mapped Using Twitter

By Matt Peckham, TIME

(TIME) - Skim the zoomed-out surface of Humboldt State University’s alarming “Hate Map” and you’ll encounter angry clouds of bright red framed by smears of gloomy blue, as if some giant freak storm were raining down hell across the the United States.

What you’re looking at is actually a map created by pairing Google‘s Maps API with a hailstorm of homophobic, racist and other prejudicial tweets. It’s part of a project overseen by Humboldt State University professor Dr. Monica Stephens, who, along with a team of undergraduate researchers, wanted to test for geographic relationships to hate speech.

Above the map, the words “homophobic,” “racist” and “disability” define alternate “hate storm” views, each describing a range of highly offensive terms. Click on the keywords or any of their subcategories and the map shifts, the splotches reorganizing to reflect occurrences of the selected term: Bright red areas describe the “most hate,” while light blue ones describe “some hate.”

Creating a map like this is essentially about data-plotting: In this case, HSU says the data was derived from “every geocoded tweet in the United States from June 2012 – April 2013″ that contained keywords related to hate speech. How’d HSU collect all of that Twitter data? Through DOLLY, a University of Kentucky project that maps social media according to geography, allowing researchers to then comb through the data for patterns or correlations. But what about tweets that used the keywords in a positive (that is, “critical of them”) sense? HSU’s researchers read through the tweets manually, categorizing each as positive, neutral or negative — the map only displays the tweets categorized as negative.

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Filed under: Discrimination • History • How we live • Technology • Where we live
May 16th, 2013
02:47 PM ET

Opinion: New Italians in Italy reveal new racism

Editor’s Note: Occasionally, In America looks at global incidents to examine how other countries are grappling with identity and what America can learn. With taunts of the first black Cabinet member in Italy, followed by the disruption of a soccer game after another racist incident, Italy is in the news lately. James Walston is chair of Department of International Relations at the American University of Rome. He founded AUR’s Center for the Study of Migration and Racism in Italy in 2008 and blogs at Italian Politics with Walston.

by James Walston, special to CNN

(CNN) - Recently, Cécile Kyenge, Italy’s first black cabinet minister, was insulted by the xenophobic Northern League within hours of her appointment.

On Sunday, Roma soccer fans shouted racist insults at Milan’s Mario Balotelli, who is black, and also one of Italy's  national squad’s top strikers.

One of Italy’s old self-images was italiani brava gente – Italians are decent folk. But that ingrained idea is being challenged by recent events and history. FULL POST

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Mexican priest fights for immigration reform in U.S.
The Rev. Alejandro Solalinde, seen here in an undated photo, will travel coast-to-coast in the U.S. to push for immigration reform
May 14th, 2013
05:52 PM ET

Mexican priest fights for immigration reform in U.S.

By Mariano Castillo, CNN

(CNN) - Known for his outspoken, unapologetic support of migrants in Mexico, the Rev. Alejandro Solalinde is bringing his message to the United States.

The priest is part of a caravan of migrants and their supporters traveling from Los Angeles to Washington to push for immigration reform.

In Mexico, Solalinde has criticized the government, and even the Catholic Church, saying that both can be more compassionate to migrants. His views are shaped by the years he has spent leading a migrant shelter in Oaxaca that offers support to Central Americans who embark on the dangerous route north by clinging to trains.

A number of threats last year led to his leaving his post, located in Ixtepec, in the southern state of Oaxaca, but he has since returned.

"I don't know how to live with fear," Solalinde told CNN.

Immigration issues must be tackled both at the source and the destination of the migrants, he said.

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May 14th, 2013
09:00 AM ET

Italian soccer match stopped due to racist abuse of Milan's Balotelli

(CNN) - A leading Italian soccer coach has called for stronger action against racism after a top-level match between AC Milan and Roma was suspended Sunday due to abusive chants by supporters.

Milan striker Mario Balotelli was targeted by visiting fans throughout the match, and referee Gianluca Rocchi called the game to a halt in the second half to warn the crowd via the public address system.

After several minutes' delay, the match continued and ended in a 0-0 draw.

Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri later said the official's decision was not strong enough.

"In my opinion, there's only one solution to racism in stadium and that's suspend the match," Allegri said on Milan's website.

"To get rid of this stuff in our stadiums, you have to make big decisions. It could penalize some people but in the long run it would help us to grow as a nation and become more civilized."

Read: Italy's proud racists

He told reporters at the post-match conference: "There's no point in interrupting the game. It's a middle ground decision and it serves no purpose. Either the game should be suspended or you keep playing.

"Mario gave all he had this evening, but he's 22 years old and always subject to these racist boos and that's not good. People go to the stadium to watch the two teams but there's always these uncivilized people."

Roma was fined €50,000 ($65,000) by the Italian league on Monday, its fans having been accused of abusing three Milan players - though none were named in the Lega Calcio's notification of the punishment.

The club issued a statement saying it "condemns any form of racial abuse."

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Washington Redskins' Owner: "We will never change the name of the team"
May 10th, 2013
02:19 PM ET

Washington Redskins' Owner: "We will never change the name of the team"

By Rob Goldberg, Bleacher Report

(Bleacher Report) - There has been plenty of debate recently about whether the Washington Redskins will change their controversial name. However, team owner Daniel Snyder expects things to remain the same.

According to Erik Brady of USA Today, the owner stated:

We will never change the name of the team. As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it's all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season.

We'll never change the name. It's that simple. NEVER—you can use caps.

The emphatic nature of the statement is certain to offer encouragement to fans looking to maintain the organization's long tradition. The Redskins have used this moniker since 1933.

While this debate has been going on for decades, it has resurfaced this offseason after a group of Native Americans recently took to the courts to bring about a resolution (via Sporting News).

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D.C. council member pushes name change for Washington Redskins
A member of the D.C. Council wants Washington's football team name changed from the Redskins, a term he calls derogatory.
April 30th, 2013
02:30 PM ET

D.C. council member pushes name change for Washington Redskins

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) David Grosso, 42, was born and raised in the metropolitan Washington area so it's not tough to see why he's a diehard Washington Redskins fan. Been going to games since he was a boy. Season ticket holder.

But Grosso, like so many others, objects to the name and mascot of his favorite team.

"The term Redskins is a racist and derogatory term," he says.

These days, Grosso has the power to do something more than air his opinion. He was elected to the D.C. Council in November, and he plans to introduce a resolution Wednesday to rename the team to the Washington Redtails. That's a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, though, Grosso says, there are plenty of redtail hawks in the area.

He's open to other suggestions. He just wants the current name gone. FULL POST

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What your zip code reveals about you
All that is needed to match the information data brokers compile with what you buy is your full name — obtained when you swipe a credit card — and a zip code, according to data privacy experts.
April 18th, 2013
10:03 AM ET

What your zip code reveals about you

By Melanie Hicken @CNNMoney

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

Every time you mindlessly give a sales clerk your zip code at checkout, you're giving data companies and retailers the ability to track everything from your body type to your bad habits.

That five-digit zip code is one of the key items data brokers use to link a wealth of public records to what you buy. They can figure out whether you're getting married (or divorced), selling your home, smoke cigarettes, sending a kid off to college or about to have one.

Such information is the cornerstone of a multi-billion dollar industry that enables retailers to target consumers with advertising and coupons. Yet, data privacy experts are concerned about the level at which consumers are being tracked without their knowledge - and what would happen if that data got into the wrong hands.

Acxiom, one of the biggest data brokers in the business, claims to have a database that holds information - including one's age, marital status, education level, political leanings, hobbies and income level - on 190 million individuals. Major competitors, like Datalogix and CoreLogic, tout similarly vast databases.

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March 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

The voting rights martyr who divided America

Editor's note: The following is an edited excerpt from John Blake's 2004 book "Children of the Movement" about Viola Liuzzo, a Detroit housewife who was killed while working for voting rights in Selma, Alabama. In the accompanying video clip, Harry Belafonte and Tony Bennett discuss their participation in the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, and their memories of Viola Liuzzo. This story is being republished on the anniversary of her death, and contains objectionable language.

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - On March 26, 1965, Penny Liuzzo was watching the "Donna Reed Show" at her home in Detroit when a wave of nausea suddenly swept over her. In an instant, she knew what had happened.

"Oh my God," she thought as she stood up and walked out of the room. "My mom's dead."

When Penny's mother, Viola Liuzzo, had called home a week earlier to tell her family she was going to Selma, Alabama, Penny had been engulfed by a sense of dread. She tried to talk her mother out of going.

"I'm never going to see you again, Mom. I know it. I just feel it. Please let me go in your place. I'll go."

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High court to look at Michigan ban on preferences in university admissions
The Supreme Court Justices will decide the constitutionality high-profile challenge to affirmative action.
March 25th, 2013
04:48 PM ET

High court to look at Michigan ban on preferences in university admissions

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court agreed Monday to confront another high-profile challenge to affirmative action in college admissions.

The justices will decide the constitutionality of a voter referendum in Michigan banning race- and sex-based discrimination or preferential treatment in public university admission decisions.

The high court is currently deciding a separate challenge to admissions policies at the University of Texas, which did not involve a voter referendum.

A federal appeals court last year concluded the affirmative action ban, which Michigan voters passed in a 2006 referendum, violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection laws.

Appeals court strikes down Michigan's affirmative action ban

It was the latest step in a legal and political battle over whether the state's colleges can use race and gender as a factor in choosing which students to admit. The ban's opponents say classroom diversity remains a necessary government role.

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March 25th, 2013
09:00 AM ET

The county where no one's gay

By John D. Sutter, CNN

Editor's note: John D. Sutter is a human rights and social change columnist for CNN Opinion. E-mail him at CTL@CNN.com or follow him on Twitter (@jdsutter), Facebook or Google+. This column contains language that may offend some readers.

Franklin County, Mississippi (CNN) - Statistically speaking, Franklin County should be straighter than John Wayne eating Chick-fil-A. The middle-of-nowhere rectangle in southwest Mississippi - known for its pine forests, hog hunting and an infamous hate crime - is home to exactly zero same-sex couples, according to an analysis of census data.

In other words: It's a place where gays don't exist.

At least not on paper.

Before I visited Franklin County, I figured there must be gay people living in Straight County USA. But I didn't expect anyone to be open about it - and with good reason. As part of this op-ed project, I recently ranked the Hospitality State as one of the least hospitable for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, based on its lack of legal protections. In addition to allowing gays and lesbians to be fired because of who they are, Mississippi is also gracious enough to let landlords evict gay residents.

Those are great incentives for a gay person to become invisible. And being invisible, of course, could mean avoiding census workers.

I drove to this place of rolling hills and misty valleys with a few questions on my mind: Can there really be such a thing as an all-straight county? If so, what is it like to be someone who never has met a gay person? Do you just watch "Glee" and figure it out?

If there are gay people in Franklin County, what keeps them hidden?

I spent a few days searching for answers before I realized I was making the wrong assumptions: It's not that gay people here (or anywhere really) want to be in the closet, necessarily. It's the rest of the world that pushes them in and shuts the door.

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